The men who will lead the Super 6 clubs into the new era come 2019/20 have been revealed.
These are full-time head coaching posts and Peter Murchie (Ayr), Rob Chrystie (Melrose) and Steve Lawrie (Watsonians) will be staying at their clubs, Ben Cairns will leave Currie Chieftains to join Stirling County while Ciaran Beattie and Graham Shiel will take up the roles at Heriot’s and Boroughmuir respectively.
The head coaches will be employed directly by each individual club and will start in post from January 2019 and begin recruiting back-room staff and playing squads alongside the on-field rugby preparations for the inaugural campaign.
Scottish Rugby and the six teams have signed the tournament licence agreements which covers the commercial rights, liabilities, licencing and operating standards, facilities and rugby provision for the competition, which will run initially for five years, starting in season 2019/20.
What they said?
Peter Murchie, Ayr
“I’m very excited to be part of a new competition at a ground-breaking time for Scottish rugby, with the launch of this new league, and a great opportunity to be a full-time coach in a part-time professional environment.
“The opportunity to focus on being a full-time coach and really trying to drive a club forward is obviously a big step change in terms of domestic coaching in Scotland below the pro teams.
“It’s going to give coaches a great opportunity to improve and invest more time in helping players develop and grow the clubs to be a success.
“There’s a lot of excitement about it around our club. Ayr has always embraced new challenges.
“The cross-border competition is a great opportunity get inter-nation competition going again and, as a top team for a number of years, we’re excited to embrace this new challenge and try to be one of the top teams in the new structures.”
Graham Shiel, Boroughmuir
“This is a really exciting to be involved in full-time coaching with an ambitious club like Boroughmuir, as part of an exciting new project with the other Super 6 clubs.
“It was too good an opportunity to miss in many ways and ultimately it’s going to be a great challenge for me personally in terms of driving my development as a coach, as we aim to develop the club from their youth development right through the championship side to the Super 6 team, creating a real pathway for players to come through a real community club like Boroughmuir.
“For me, it’s about challenging myself full-time in rugby, within a team environment and having the opportunities of having week to week games and preparation along with sharing in the player’s journey of how they become the best they can be.
“A Super 6 coach has the opportunity to build and construct a team and performance culture, the principles of how and why we want to play the game and be part of something that’s trying to push the boundaries of what exists currently in the club game.
“Having the chance to coach in a professional capacity is limited in Scotland with only two professional teams, but Super 6 provides another option for coaches to remain in Scotland and develop along with continuing to build a strong club game.
“Being able to contribute something to the sport in a full-time capacity is great and I feel very fortunate to be afforded this at Boroughmuir and be one of the first group of Super 6 coaches that will hopefully bring more coaching experience for others down the line, as it becomes established, grows and develops.”
Ciaran Beattie, Heriot’s
“Heriot’s is a great club and this a great new adventure for the whole of Scottish Rugby. It’s understating it to say I’m privileged to be part of it.
“Naturally you enter new opportunities with confidence in your own abilities but to have that backed up by such a huge club, that needs no introduction historically, means a great deal.
“The club is really going somewhere and I’m very excited to be at the helm, and to build on that history in this new era for all of Scottish rugby.
“I was fortunate to work in analysis at the top end of the game under some of the best coaches in the world for five years, and was always learning, but there comes a time in your career that you have to break out of that environment and take that step into being the coach.”
Rob Chrystie, Melrose
“Melrose has been at forefront of the domestic game for the past 10 years, as league winners four times in the past eight seasons, so it’s really exciting to be part of a championship that will continue to push the boundaries of the game in Scotland.
“I currently balance a full-time job alongside being Head Coach of a top club side, and that takes up a lot of hours. I’d like to think we do a good job now, but time is a massive issue. Being full-time will definitely allow me to improve the quality of coaching we deliver.
“It’ll be really good to get the head down and look at ways we can drive the club forward, not just on the pitch but off the pitch as well.
“We want to develop more partnerships and the players in the wider area to deliver something of real quality, while I hope to develop myself as coach by up-skilling and working in different ways.
“Obviously, it’s about developing the players, first and foremost, and be right at the top end of both the domestic Super 6 and cross-border competitions.
“That’s how we’ll be judged and being full-time gives us the best opportunity to really develop ourselves and create an environment that people and players want to be part of and progress though.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s going to raise the standard.”
Ben Cairns, Stirling County
“It’s always been a big personal ambition of mine to be a full-time coach and work at the highest level I can, and I’m delighted to get this opportunity through Stirling and in Scotland.
“Stirling County is a club I’ve always liked the look of and has a lot of good people involved. It’s a proper rugby club, which I like, and has a lot of similarities to the club I’m joining from and grew up with.
“It’s a good fit for me and I’m really honoured and excited to get the opportunity to lead them into what will be a new era for the club and Scottish rugby.
“Initially I see a big part of my role being to get up to speed with how the club currently operates. I want to immerse myself in the club and really get to know the individuals who make it tick so I can hit the ground running.
“I’m also excited by the partnership the club has with the University of Stirling and I’m looking forward to growing this partnership and working with them to enhance their rugby programme.
“From a playing, refereeing and coaching perspective the Super 6 is designed to be a more professional environment and should therefore be a better shop window for those with ambition to play, coach and officiate at the highest level they can.”
Steve Lawrie, Watsonians
“Watsonians is my club and was also the club I always wanted to coach at, so it’s really exciting to continue that honour with the Super 6 franchise.
“As current head coach I was heavily involved in the franchise bid because I could see the potential in the club, the people they have supporting it at board level, the links with the school, other schools, and also the wider community as an open club.
“We’re keen to be at the forefront of driving up the standards of Scottish rugby and were keen to secure a Super 6 spot.
“I think we’re in an ideal position to pursue our performance though the franchise side as well as our amateur, community focus through our club side, which is very important to our members.
“I’m delighted and very grateful to the school to be given this opportunity to develop myself further in a professional environment, with higher stakes, hopefully a higher level of competition and also more accountability – both to the performance department at Scottish Rugby and a newly formed board at the franchise club.”
Thanks to Scottish Rugby/SNS for the images
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