Officer keen to work with new pool of talent at Meggetland

HAVING led the refurbishment of the Royal Commonwealth Pool, one might imagine that helping to restore Boroughmuir as title contenders would be plain sailing.

By day David Officer is a project manager and, after two years guiding Boroughmuir’s second XV to the top of the Scottish reserve tree, he has stepped up to work with the Meggetland club’s top side. alongside head coach Fergus Pringle

The former Edinburgh and Scotland A centre was a Currie stalwart for years but now only has eyes for Muir and the taks of bringing through talent at the southernmost of the capital’s four Premiership clubs.

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With his family growing up, Officer feels now is the right time to take on the extra pressures of a 1st XV role, and also hopes it will provide a welcome change from the pressures of managing major construction sites.

“It was a great honour to be project manager on the Royal Commonwealth Pool and great to see the job finished,” he said. “But, like every job, it has its stresses so it’s good to get away from that and I find that rugby offers that release.

“When I first left the professional game I found coaching quite frustrating because you have been used to things developing every day, but you grow into it and I really enjoy working with players.

“When Phil Smith left [for Heriot’s] at the end of last season it was a good opportunity for me to step up. I’ve enjoyed my time with the seconds and we have a lot of young talent coming through, but it will be good to see that now come through at the senior level and, hopefully, make a difference for Boroughmuir.

“And that is what the club is about – developing talent. Rather than go out looking for players in the summer, the priority for us was to retain the boys we had. There were six Boroughmuir players involved with the Scotland under-20s in the World Junior Championship in South Africa, from Harry Leonard and Robin Hislop who were not with us long before they turned pro at Edinburgh to Mike Crawley, Keith Buchan, Jamie Swanson and Alex Henderson.

“We have lost Mike and Harris Jones to Aberdeen for university, but most of the squad have stayed despite being offered deals elsewhere and that is encouraging. We have some exciting teenagers coming up from the Colts, including wingers Damien Hoyland and Jordan Edmonds, who will take time to get experience at senior level but have the talent to go far so we will give them the time to learn and develop.”

Rumours of Malcolm Clapperton’s retirement have been greatly exaggerated and, while the loyal centre is also engaged in a wide-ranging review of the club’s rugby programmes, he will remain a key figure in the Muir midfield. Chris Cusiter’s brother Calum is also back at the club, his work commitments reduced slightly to allow some Saturday freedom, and Officer is hopeful Edinburgh draft pick Sep Visser might be released to club duty on several occasions, even if his brother Tim, another draft choice, has a more off-field role.

“We’re excited about the new season and we start with a big test against Ayr this weekend,” added Officer. “Our focus is to get our physicality right up there from the first kick-off and not allow Ayr any room to breathe. If we get that right, we could set ourselves up for a good season.”

Officer is diving into this role with his eyes wide open, knowing that it could take time for young Muir stars to emerge but, having played his part in giving Edinburgh back its lauded swimming pool, he is excited at pledging his future to polishing up another of the capital’s sporting institutions.