‘Got to earn my stripes’ - Edinburgh head coach vacancy comes too soon for pack specialist Stevie Lawrie
Blair is stepping down after two years at the helm and will take charge for the final time on Friday night when Edinburgh end what has been a disappointing season with a tough away fixture against Ulster. Blair wants to concentrate on being an attack coach and it remains uncertain whether that will be with Edinburgh or elsewhere, but whatever happens Lawrie will not be applying to take over from the former Scotland captain. “At the minute, that’s not for me,” said Lawrie. “You can jump too quickly sometimes. For me, learning from other head coaches is invaluable just now, and developing myself as a forwards coach and a contact coach. I believe in earning stripes and I want to concentrate on being a forwards coach just now.”
Lawrie, a former Edinburgh hooker, re-joined the club as assistant forwards coach under Richard Cockerill ahead of the 2019-20 season. He was then promoted to main forwards coach near the end of last season, Blair’s first in charge. “I’ve really enjoyed working with Mike,” added Lawrie. “Mike has made me a better coach, unquestionably. To have two very different head coaches has been great for my development and at my age. So if Mike is still here then that would be excellent.”
Following Blair’s announcement that he was stepping down, Edinburgh brought in the experienced Steve Diamond as ‘lead rugby consultant’ and the former Sale, Saracens and Worcester boss is expected to play a role in appointing the new head coach. Lawrie said he wasn’t unduly worried about his own future. “I think that’s the business. Scottish Rugby have said they are going through a process. It’s an exciting time for the club as well. We know it won’t be Mike who’s head coach but whoever that person is will have a squad with a lot of quality there to work with.”
Despite the talent available, Edinburgh have underperformed this season, winning only six of their 17 games in the United Rugby Championship. They’ve failed to make the play-offs and sit 12th in the 18-team table ahead of their final game. Saturday’s impressive 45-21 home victory over the Ospreys was their first in the league since January and another win in Belfast on Friday could elevate them to ninth place. Lawrie said there was still plenty of motivation to finish on a high. “I think you’ve got to find a theme. Last week it was all about the fans and we’re continuing that into this week because I think they’ve had a tough enough season as it is. So to potentially finish in 10th place, or ninth if other results go our way … well, I’d rather finish 10th than 12th. So we’ve got to go into every single game ensuring we’re playing as best as we can. Players have got different motivations and you try to tap into that but ultimately they’re playing for Edinburgh and I expect them to play as well as they can.”
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.