Gerry McGuinness hit by 'bolt from the blue' as Hawick sack him

HAWICK have made the shock decision to sack Gerry McGuinness, the coach who steered the club back into the first division.

The former Scotland prop had stepped into the head coach position last summer after eight years creating new levels of success in Hawick youth rugby and in his first season in the senior game helped a young squad to second spot in Premier Two and promotion to the Scottish Hydro Premier One, beating champions Stirling County twice.

The 56-year-old told The Scotsman he was shocked to be told on Monday night that his services were no longer required. "It was a bolt out of the blue. I don't understand it, but that's rugby committees for you. The reasons I was given were that some of the senior players don't like my style, that training is not intensive enough, that apparently I can't gee them up enough before games, and ultimately the committee said that if I was to remain then some of them wouldn't play next season.

"I've come from youth rugby and I think it makes me an easy target, but you hear about senior players pushing decisions like this.

"It was a tremendous honour to coach Hawick, which remains one of the greatest clubs in Scottish rugby and my views on that will never change. That is where I'm a bit surprised, to be honest, that players felt I couldn't gee them up. I'm sorry, but if you can't get yourself geed up for a game with Gala I don't think you should be wearing the Hawick jersey."

It is ironic that a predecessor, Jim Hay, was similarly forced out apparently because senior players believed his training sessions to be too intense. McGuinness' backs coach David Scammell has also gone, with Hawick turning back to Derek 'Deke' Armstrong, a popular coach with the players, but who suffered relegation as a coach with Biggar and Hawick and failed in his applications for the head coach posts with Hawick and Jed-Forest last year.

Hawick issued a statement that read: "Hawick RFC has confirmed that the services of last season's head coach Gerry McGuinness are no longer required. This decision was taken following a full review of the season involving players and coaches."