Scotland internationalist John Hardie will be leaving Edinburgh Rugby this summer, head coach Richard Cockerill has confirmed to the Edinburgh Evening News.
The New Zealand-born back-row, who has won 16 national team caps, returned to training in January after a three-month ban handed out by Scottish Rugby for “gross misconduct” over alleged cocaine use.
Since then he has been back playing for Edinburgh in the Guinness PRO14 and trained with Scotland last week, but his future lies away from the Capital.
Cockerill said: “John won’t be staying. He is the same as a lot of other guys, we have a lot of young guys coming through and financially we need to spread our costs.
“We have to make sure we are getting value out of our budget. We have guys like Jamie Ritchie and Luke Crosbie coming through who can both play at seven while Hamish [Watson] is first choice there for Scotland.
“Add in John Barclay [who arrives this summer] and there are a lot of good back-row players. “We need to get value from the squad and get the right balance moving forward.”
Hardie is now expected to head south of the border with Bristol, Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors keen to recruit him for next season.