Rugby: Phil Smith’s club coaches call at Edinburgh

Phil Smith. Picture: Andrew Stuart/SP
Phil Smith. Picture: Andrew Stuart/SP
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Heriot’s supremo Phil Smith is likely to throw his hat into the ring for the head coaching position at Edinburgh Rugby.

Smith believes that the Capital’s pro club needs to give up-and-coming Scottish coaches the change to prove their worth at a higher level.

Since it was announced on Tuesday that current Edinburgh head coach Michael Bradley would be stepping down from his post at the end of the season, a number of potential replacements have been mentioned.

And Smith, who was previously involved with Edinburgh as backs coach alongside Todd Blackadder and Carl Hogg in 2005/06, has stated that he is keen to apply for the vacant position.

He said: “It is a great opportunity for someone to go in there and really have a right good go of turning Edinburgh’s fortunes around.

“I have been involved at that level before and would like to be again while I feel that most coaches currently involved with RBS Premiership clubs could go in there and do a good job.

“For that to happen though it will require Scottish Rugby to change their attitude somewhat as they have previously stated that only coaches with pro experience will be considered. That only really leaves them with myself and a couple of others [George Graham of Gala and Ian Rankin of Dundee HSFP] in the top flight, but I believe others are also good enough to make the step up too.”

One top-flight coach – Melrose’s Craig Chalmers – has already decided that he is unlikely to get an opportunity with a Scottish pro team so, as from the summer, will be involved with English National League Two South side Chinnor.

Smith, who has previously worked at Watsonians, Dunfermline and Boroughmuir, believes it is time club coaches got the credit they deserve.

“The standard of club rugby in this country is growing year on year and the quality on show this season has been good. People always tend to think that someone from abroad with a big reputation has to come in to the pro game in this country, but local coaches – like players – have to be given the opportunity to progress.

“I certainly feel the job should go to a Scottish coach and it will be an interesting few months to see what happens and what route Edinburgh Rugby go down.”