Gala have announced that their backs coach, Scott Nichol, has decided to stand down from his position at Netherdale.
Nichol, who has been the assistant to Gala head coach George Graham, said: “After four years of service to this club I think that it is time for some fresh ideas. Also I’ve got a reasonably young family and I want to be able to spend more time with them.”
As a player Nichol was an outstanding stand-off/centre with Selkirk before joining Melrose and making a number of appearances for South of Scotland. Yet his one Scotland cap was as a wing when he came on as a replacement during the Scots’ second Test against Argentina in Buenos Aires in 1994.
His club career continued at Peebles where he became a player-coach and it was from the Gytes club that he moved to Netherdale to team up with George Graham.
Under Nichol’s tutelage Gala have finished second in the Premiership in the past two seasons. “If you look at where we’ve come from and where we are now that shows what a valuable contribution Scott has made,” said Gala president, Scott Dalgleish.
The hunt is now on for a replacement but, as yet, no names have been mentioned. Dalgleish hinted the Maroons might go down the same path as Currie , who have appointed former Edinburgh centre, Ben Cairns, as their head coach to succeed Ally Donaldson.
“We will certainly be looking at the possibility of bringing in a professional at the end of his career,” said Dalgleish, whose own son, Chris – currently coaching the second XV backs and making an impact with the Gala sevens team – could come into the reckoning.
Meanwhile, former Scotland under-20 second row Neale Patrick has signed for Greene King IPA English Championship outfit Plymouth Albion from rivals the Cornish Pirates, writes Gary Heatly.
The 25-year-old joined the Pirates last summer but was dogged by problems in the early part of the campaign, having suffered a foot injury.
He eventually made his debut in the Pirates’ British & Irish Cup match against Ayr in October. He has since helped them finish in mid-table in England’s second tier, but he has decided to move to Brickfields.
Plymouth Albion head coach James Shanahan said of Patrick: “He is a very good ball carrier and with his height will be a considerable asset in the lineout. Neale is strong in the set scrum and he will add physicality and power to our pack. This season we have played some great rugby, but have lacked punch up front.”
Having come through the ranks at Perthshire and Dunfermline, Patrick earned nine Scotland under-20 caps in 2008 and was then part of the Edinburgh Rugby academy and played for Boroughmuir.
After some time at Northumbria University he was with Rotherham Titans for seasons 2011/12 and 2012/13, but a bulging disc in his back caused some problems.