Glasgow Warriors assistant coach Kenny Murray hailed “a great weekend for Scottish rugby” and, while praising the impact of his former boss Gregor Townsend, believes another former colleague deserves his share of the credit.
As well as some welcome warm weather and sunshine, Scotland was still basking yesterday in the glow of a famous double over Australia as the senior national team beat the Wallabies 24-19 in Sydney on Saturday before the Under-20 side dramatically toppled the junior gold and greens 24-17 in Georgia for a best-ever fifth-place finish in the youth world championship.
While forwards coach Dan McFarland and defence specialist Matt Taylor, who had previously been in a joint role with Glasgow and Scotland, have joined Townsend in the national set-up, Murray is looking forward to working with new Warriors boss Dave Rennie at Scotstoun next season. The former Ayr coach was keen to highlight the Brisbane-born former Scotland A cap Taylor’s role in that famous victory over the Aussies, which saw the tourists defend a hard-won lead in the final quarter.
“It was a great weekend for Scottish rugby with the senior team and the Under-20s both getting great wins,” said Murray yesterday after receiving a prestigious UKCC Level 4 coaching certificate at Edinburgh’s Napier University.
“I really enjoyed watching that Test in Sydney, you could see Gregor’s traits all over the attack in terms of pace and tempo and accuracy. But I also thought one of the key things was the defence and Matt Taylor has got to take a lot of credit for what happened in the game. In the last 20 minutes we defended our line heroically, with real vigour and aggression and they couldn’t break us down. That would have meant a lot to Matt because he’s from Australia. I think now everyone is looking forward to the autumn Tests and getting a crack at the All Blacks.”
Murray was delighted to see Warriors stand-off Finn Russell, who was one of the tryscorers in Sydney, rewarded with a Lions call-up and is certain the 24-year-old, who is on the bench for this morning’s match against the Chiefs, will make an impact in New Zealand.
“Dan Biggar is starting at 10 but you’d like to think Finn will get a shot [against the Chiefs],” said Murray. “He’s such a relaxed and confident player, it doesn’t matter what environment he goes into he will always perform. I just hope he gets an opportunity to play a bit. Obviously in his position you need to have leadership as he is controlling the game but what I liked about him in the Australia game was the maturity he showed. Some of his kicks turned them back into corners, some of his decision making at the right times were good – a quick tap he took at a 22 restart, where he had seen the Australian player next to him had his back turned and that was his trigger to go. Not many players would have the confidence to do that.
“That’s what Finn’s like, he’s got a good knowledge of the game and, more importantly, the ability to see what needs to be done at certain times. He’s a quality player.”
Murray was speaking at Edinburgh’s Napier University after being presented with his Level 4 coaching certificate, which is the highest qualification, although he admitted he was considering topping it up even further with a Masters.
Murray was joined yesterday by Heriot’s and Scotland Club XV coach Phil Smith and Andy Hall, the former Glasgow and Scotland lock who is now coach of Hong Kong, in receiving the award.
BT Academy coach Ben Fisher, Edinburgh forwards chief Stevie Scott and Steve Lawrie of Heriot’s have also completed the two-year qualification.
John Dalziel, who led the Scotland Under-20s to that historic feat in Georgia, and Ayr coach Calum Forrester are also close to finishing the Level 4 grade.
Scottish Rugby’s training and education manager, Neil Graham said: “We are delighted to have six coaches completing their UKCC Level 4 as they look to accelerate their development and progress towards their coaching goals.”