GALA rugby player Gregor Hunter took a step closer to turning professional after being drafted in to the Edinburgh Rugby's elite development programme for the coming season.

The new arrival can now count themselves among the country's top prospects who will, under the revised development programme, be fully integrated with the Edinburgh Rugby senior squad and receive additional support from elite development coach Bryan Easson.

This season four players - Matt Scott (centre), Grant Gilchrist (lock), Harry Leonard (stand-off) and Alex Black (scrum-half) - have all earned full-time contracts through the development programme.

In the 30 games played by the club last season, nine elite development players shared 109 individual appearances, with Gilchrist and Scott forcing their way into regular contention, the latter becoming the first to be capped for Scotland while still in the programme.

Meanwhile, two players from Melrose have been drafted into the elite development programme at Glasgow Warriors for the coming season.

Full-back Fraser Thomson and centre Bruce Dick have both been brought into the fold after impressing in Premier 1 with the champions.