Edinburgh Rugby’s new managing director David Davies will turn to one of the most decorated individuals in the oval ball game to help him settle in at Murrayfield before ringing the changes at an under-achieving outfit.
Sir Ian McGeechan and Davies go back a long way to when this former Gosforth scrum half took the Scot south to London Wasps to be director of rugby in 2005.
The pair enjoyed enormous success, including victories in the Heineken European Cup, English Premiership and LV Trophy.
But there were also defeats . . . including one which sowed the seeds of Davies’ latest move in a career that has seen him embrace a remarkable range of sports from rugby to football to ice hockey to basketball.
“Yes, I well remember coming up to Murrayfield with Wasps a few years ago (it was 2005) and we got our bums kicked by Edinburgh,” recalled Davies.
Actually the scoreline was Edinburgh 32, Wasps 31 – hardly a mauling.
Nevertheless, he added: “We were not at the races so when you talk about a team with potential I knew from that day what Edinburgh were capable of. I felt more than comfortable to come back in this capacity and eat my share of humble pie!”
As for any possible guidance by McGeechan, almost a decade after he left his Murrayfield post as director of rugby for the English club game, Davies said: “I have only been in the post five days and have not spoken to Sir Ian McGeechan yet. But I will do.
“It is one of those situations where I sit down and see that my ‘to do’ list is very long, although to be fair to Ian, he is very near the top of that list.”
The impression is that Davies, who has arrived from a position helping oversee the construction of a new stadium at Dunedin, New Zealand, means business in a way that some before him could have done well to emulate in the sense that he does not intend commuting back and forward over the border.
“Currently home is near Reading,” he said, quickly adding, “but as of this week the house will be on the market. My wife and I are moving.”
It is perhaps the case, too, that the only way is up judged on Davies’ first impressions of Edinburgh – not that he would be so insensitive as to refer to last weekend’s home defeat by Connacht in that way. “End of season fare” is how he described the setback in pledging that it will be a different story next season.
“We are in a position of uncertainty the moment and therefore the game reflected that with its end-of-season nature. It may have been the lighter nights but I thought it had an end-of-term feel. I enjoyed the experience and I think most people who came enjoyed the experience.
“If the team can finish with two wins (away to Treviso and at home to Dragons) then that will put a spring in the step and that’s the focus.”
He estimates a 20 per cent turnover in playing resources, and Davies, who worked at Queen’s Park Rangers Football club with managers Gerry Francis and Ian Holloway before owner Chris Wright took him into rugby at Wasps, is also prioritising some stability on the coaching front.
For the moment the job is in the hands of interim appointments Stevie Scott and Duncan Hodge with Davies much too shrewd an operator to count anybody in or out on a full-time basis.
What most fear, of course, is that he will struggle to exert any autonomy at a team where the governing body control budgets, etc.
Davies’ believes he has more than wriggle room, however. “I know that the direct link to the governing body makes some people uncomfortable, but whenever I have been involved with a team whether in ice hockey (Manchester Storm) rugby or football there has always been a process.
“Anybody that thinks the Union has got to make all the decisions is wrong. Bringing in players over the summer will be at the forefront of minds, but I am trying to pick up on a process that has been in place for some time. I want to give it fresh impetus.”