Highlander Burleigh agrees deal to play in Scotland

Highlanders stand-off/centre Phil Burleigh has agreed to leave Dunedin and play in Scotland for Edinburgh on a two-year deal until 2016 under former Southern Kings coach Alan Solomons.

The 27-year-old playmaker came through the ranks with Bay of Plenty before becoming a regular star in the southern hemisphere’s top flight, Super Rugby competition.

He made his breakthrough with the Chiefs in 2010 and continued his rise in earnest with a 2012 move to the Dunedin-based club, where he has been a consistent performer, making 32 Super Rugby appearances to date.

Head coach, Alan Solomons, said,”This is excellent news for Edinburgh Rugby. Phil Burleigh is an experienced Super Rugby back. “He is a very good player and comes very highly rated and regarded. He is a strong, physical, and intelligent player and that will be a big help to us.

“We’ve signed him primarily as a stand-off but he is also comfortable at 12 and 13, which is important, both in terms of intensifying squad competition and facilitating future rotation.”

Burleigh will arrive at the conclusion of the 2014 Super Rugby season, the exact date dependant on the playoff-poised Highlanders’ participation in the knockout rounds of the tournament.

He said: “I’m really excited about the new challenge at a proud club with growing ambition.

“I’ve spoken to Alan Solomons (head coach) who talked me through his vision and the squad for next season and it sounds like he’s building a good future for the club, moving towards competing further up the table and getting back into the European Rugby Champions Cup.

“I’m really looking forward to being part of that challenge and building for future success.”

Phil Burleigh (27) stand-off/centre
Born: 22 October 1986 in Christchurch, New Zealand
Height: 1.82m; weight: 96kg
Former clubs: Chiefs (2010-2012); Highlanders

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