Timaru's Sam Beard re-signs for Edinburgh
Former Timaru schoolboy Sam Beard has earned a two-year extension to his professional contract with Edinburgh Rugby.
Beard has made 13 appearances for the Scottish club since he arrived from Bay of Plenty in November last year. The 24-year-old centre has steadily worked his way into squad contention.
Edinburgh Rugby head coach Alan Solomons said the contract extension was good news for the club.
"Sam's a good bloke, a good team man and has fitted in very well here. He has got very good feet and has a good natural feel for the game."
Solomons said Beard has the potential to play a big part in their squad in the coming seasons.
Beard scored a try in their home win over Ospreys at Meggetland in February.
He said he was looking forward to being able to continue to challenge himself, to see how far he could go.
"To do that I think it's important for me to try to get sufficient game time each week. There's a good core group of players from last year that remained at the club with a mixture of new faces."
Beard said it was exciting being able to build on last season.
"I guess [I will] just also try to do my bit in the next couple of seasons to contribute to the team doing well."
He said the level of rugby was similar to that in New Zealand.
"I just think often weather dictates games. Whether it be the pace of the game or determining if the ball [is] getting thrown around.
"There are definitely some big boys playing over here though, so it is often very physical."
Beard said he loved living in Edinburgh and playing at Murrayfield.
"It's a great city. I guess the only downside can be the horrible weather during winter. It makes training tough when you don't see the sun for months and when it starts getting dark at four in the afternoon."
While concentrating on rugby, he said he hadn't managed to travel much so far.
"I've been to Spain twice, which was great, and I plan on going to Croatia at the end of the month when we get a break during pre-season."
Edinburgh are scheduled to play 15 regular season matches - 12 in the PRO12 competition and three home tie European Rugby Challenge Cup games.
They have also boosted the club's backline for the new season with the signing of Highlanders second five-eighth/centre Phil Burleigh on a two-year deal until 2016.
Beard played for Timaru Boys' High School before moving to Christchurch.
He returned to South Canterbury as a loan player for the Heartland team.
Beard is eligible to play in Britain as he has a dual passport through his father, Phil.
Edinburgh are one of the two professional rugby teams from Scotland, and the club competes in the Pro12 and the Heineken Cup, along with the Glasgow Warriors.
The Timaru Herald