Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley to step down

MICHAEL Bradley will leave his post as Edinburgh head coach at the end of the season, but is determined to ensure the campaign finishes on a high while Scottish Rugby searches for his successor.

Edinburgh announced yesterday lunchtime that Bradley’s contract will not be renewed after a disappointing season which has seen the capital pro outfit slump out of the Heinken Cup with six straight defeats, while they have won only four of their 14 RaboDirect Pro12 league matches to date.

While Bradley will stay until May and bid to restore some pride, defence coach Billy McGinty has left the club with immediate effect after resigning from his post. Bradley will share the defensive duties with forwards coach Neil Back.

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Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson confirmed a search for a new boss will begin “immediately” and Bryan Redpath is believed to be the leading head coach contender, with Carl Hogg, Alan Tait and George Graham candidates for assistant coach roles. Other Scots who are likely to be considered include Greig Oliver (currently Garryowen/Munster), Kenny Murray (Ayr), Simon Cross (Edinburgh Accies and Scotland U20s), John Dalziel (Melrose and Scotland U20s) and Calum MacRae (Newcastle skills coach).

Bradley led Edinburgh to the Heineken Cup semi-finals last season and admitted the struggles of this season had left him disappointed. The Irishman, who took over at Edinburgh in May 2011 after a coaching role at Connacht, told the club’s website: “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 the final whistle went when we overcame Toulouse in last year’s quarter-final of the Heineken Cup at Murrayfield. I am very disappointed by the run of results this season and will put everything into the remainder of the season to help the club build for a brighter future.”

Dodson said: “Michael and Billy have played a pivotal role in a number of memorable games at Murrayfield. This season’s results, however, have been below the standards expected by the club and its fans and we believe the time is right to begin the search for a fresh coaching team.”