The Edinburgh Rugby Supporters’ Club today called for a proven coach to replace the departing Michael Bradley.
The group want a head coach with RaboDirect PRO12 or Aviva Premiership experience after Bradley steps down at the end of the season. And they are keen that the new head man is supported by at least one up-and-coming Scottish coach in his backroom staff who would eventually take on the lead role.
The defence coach position is free after Billy McGinty left the post with immediate effect yesterday while forwards coach Neil Back is still in place.
The announcement that Irishman Bradley would not be in charge in 2013/14 came as little surprise to many, the team having struggled to get anywhere near the heights of last season during this campaign.
Saturday night’s 30-3 loss at Munster was their tenth in the league while they were defeated in all six of their Heineken Cup pool matches – conceding 178 points – just months after reaching the semi-final in last season’s event.
Bradley will leave in May as a result and said: “It’s been an honour to be Edinburgh Rugby head coach and I’d like to thank my fellow coaches, management team, players, staff, fans and sponsors for their support these past two years.
“Building a strong club with a clear identity, which has shared ownership from the players, management, fans, sponsors and the community at large is the key driver of all successful teams and, for me, it is critical that this work continues and enables both the club and the team to reach its full potential.
“The undoubted highlight of my two years was the joy on the faces of all connected with Edinburgh when we overcame Toulouse in last year’s quarter-final of the Heineken Cup at Murrayfield.
“I am very disappointed by the results this season and will put everything into the remainder of the season to help the club build for a brighter future.”
Having watched the team toil in recent months a spokesman for the Edinburgh Rugby Supporters Club said: “Supporters were positive going into the season after reaching the Heineken Cup semi-final and with an increased budget and a number of new signings. Unfortunately, it has not developed as everyone would have hoped. Results have not been good enough this season and, as head coach, Michael Bradley has to take responsibility. Ultimately, he has paid the price for these results.
“Looking to the future, while we have no view as to who exactly should be appointed, we would like to see an experienced head coach brought in to be assisted by a young Scottish coach with a view to that coach ultimately taking over.”
When pressed further on who they would like to see take up the head coach position the spokesman refused to be drawn, but did say ideally they would have coached before in the RaboDirect PRO12 or Aviva Premiership and “know the squad well as they would have to hit the ground running”.
In their statement Edinburgh Rugby said that they will begin the recruitment process for new coaching personnel with immediate effect.
When approached by the Evening News for a chat with the club’s managing director Craig Docherty about the kind of person he would be looking for to fill the role, the opportunity was declined.
So, who is in the running for the post? A number of supporters were today talking up the claims of current Scotland interim forwards coach Dean Ryan, but his appointment, at this stage, appears unlikely, given that he sees his time north of the border as just a temporary arrangement.
Former Glasgow Warriors head coach Sean Lineen, now scouting for Scottish Rugby and coaching the under-20s, lives in the Capital and is liked by supporters while Brian Redpath’s name was also mentioned.
Edinburgh Accies’ head coach, and former Edinburgh captain, Simon Cross, could also be an outsider for the role.
While, at 32, he may be too inexperienced for the ‘main’ job just yet, his stock is rising with the work he is doing at Accies and Scotland Under-20 and it may be that Edinburgh Rugby look for someone like him to fill the defence coach role.
Certainly there will be much discussion in the stands during Friday night’s home match against Cardiff Blues.