Ex-Sale youth coach takes Hawick reins

HAWICK have appointed Phil Leck as their new head coach. He was previously a member of the coaching set-up at Sale Sharks, where he was involved with several age-grade teams as well as the club’s second string Jets side (who currently top the table in the Aviva A League Northern Conference, having won both their two games so far).

Leck will meet his new team when he attends training at Mansfield Park tonight, when he is also expected to articulate his plans to Rocky Johnstone and Jim Renwick, who have coached the side since the resignation of Derek Armstrong in mid-September. It is not yet clear whether that pair will be asked to stay on to help the new man find his feet in the Scottish Borders.

“I’m delighted that we’ve got the right man for the job,’ said club president Alistair Pow. “He ticks all the boxes. He is a highly qualified RFU Level 4 coach with a lot of experience of working with young guys and helping turn them into professional players.

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“He came up for a chat and a look around a few weeks ago, and we had him back in Hawick again last Thursday for a formal interview.

“After several discussions amongst the committee over the weekend we were delighted to offer him the job on Monday morning, and he has been on the phone three times since then, planning and preparing. He is very professional. He also knows all about the history of the club, and the unique set-up we have with the junior and semi-junior clubs, so he knows what he is getting himself involved in.

“We have done our research on him and everything we have heard back has been very positive.”

An added bonus of this move for Leck will be that it brings him closer to his son, Chris, a scrum-half who joined Edinburgh from Sale Sharks at the start of the season.

Pow clearly hopes that this appointment will draw a line under a difficult few months for Hawick, who have lost ten matches and managed only one draw in 11 league outings this season to finish seven points adrift at the bottom of the Premier One table at the split.

When league rugby resumes in mid-January, Hawick must ensure that they are one of the top two teams in Premier B if they are to play top flight of the new league structure next season.

“It’s a massive relief for everyone at Hawick to have a coach of this calibre in place,” said the president.

“Now we can all look forward and pull together to help the club return to where it rightfully belongs – in the top half of Premier One.”