Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend paid tribute to WP Nel after the veteran prop confirmed he will retire at the end of the season.

Nel, who moved to Scotland when he signed for Edinburgh in 2012, became available for Scotland under World Rugby's residency ruling three years later.

He made his debut in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Italy in Turin, and won a total of 61 caps for his adopted homeland over eight years.

The last of his caps came in the World Cup defeat to Ireland.

READ MORE: Edinburgh and Scotland stalwart WP Nel's retirement confirmed

Townsend said Nel was one of the best props ever to have played for Scotland.

The Scotland head coach said: "WP Nel has given a huge amount to Scottish rugby over a number of years.

“He was a joy to coach as every time he took to the training pitch he gave it his all, no matter how much his body was giving him issues.

"WP will rank amongst the best props to play for Scotland, highly respected from coaches and players alike – and he also had a brilliant sense of humour.

“I know how much playing for Scotland has meant to him and his family, and we are so grateful for everything he has done in the shirt.”

“We’ll miss his smile, his love of the scrum and some very skilful moments that often lit up our training sessions. We wish him all the best for the rest of the season and in his retirement.”

Edinburgh bosses praise 'fantastic competitor' Nel

Nel's retirement was confirmed earlier by Edinburgh head coach Sean Everitt. 

He also paid tribute to the veteran tighthead. 

"WP has been a tremendous servant to Edinburgh Rugby over more than a decade, he’s one of only three double centurions in the club’s 150-year history and has made 61 appearances for the Scotland national team in an incredibly tough position," Everitt said. 

The South African added: “He goes about his business with a quiet assurance but his contribution to the club and his adopted country speaks volumes and cannot be questioned.

Scotland Rugby News: Edinburgh head coach Sean EverittEdinburgh head coach Sean Everitt (Image: SNS)

“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with WP since joining the club last summer and I know he’ll continue to give everything to the jersey – as he always does – for the remainder of the season.”

Edinburgh Rugby managing director Douglas Struth also thanked Nel for his service to the capital club.

Struth said: “He moved here as a young man in 2012 and quickly established himself as the cornerstone of the club’s front row, making a name for himself by dismantling opposition scrums with an eye for the try line.

“Off the rugby field, he’s made Scotland his home, raising four children here in Edinburgh with his wife, Alana, all of whom are a big part of the social fabric of the club.

Scotland Rugby News: Edinburgh Rugby managing director Douglas StruthEdinburgh Rugby managing director Douglas Struth (Image: SNS)

“He’s a been a fantastic competitor and we will be all sad to see the day he finally hangs up his boots.

"I’m sure everyone connected the club will want to give him the proper send-off he deserves whenever his final game comes this season and of course, what I’m sure will be an emotional farewell at our Season Awards.”