Michael Who?

The new coach of Edinburgh Rugby is going to be:

a) Michael Ball
b) Michael Flatley
c) Michael Bradley
d) Bradley Wiggins

I have to admit, the name didn’t ring much of a bell with me either. (The answer is rumoured to be c) by the way). Michael Bradley, former coach of Connacht. Not the Connacht of this season, who have done pretty well under Blessed Eric. No, the Connacht from before. So there you have your answer to the other great question of our time – are the pro-sides turning into second class citizens under the current SRU regime?

I was hoping they wouldn’t appoint Eddie O’ Sullivan, so in that regard at least it would be a satisfactory outcome. But anyone hoping for a surprise high level appointment like that of Andy Robinson will be fairly disappointed, and I have to say it does seem a little like Bradley – who has plenty of experience running a team that is a distinctly underfunded lesser cousin, aimed at growing players for another team – represents a step sideways for Edinburgh, who may have had this foisted on them from above.

This Scotsman article asserts that the triumvirate of Mckie, Robinson and Lowe will be responsible for the appointment. If it were my organisation (and it is clearly not), Gordon Mckie should be responsible for rubber stamping the appointment and allocating a budget for the new coaches wages. That’s it. Despite his recent efforts to prove otherwise (for example publicly criticising the playing and fitness of the pro-teams that it seems he is slowly running down), he is not and should not be involved in rugby affairs and certainly not at pro team level, where they have their own executive structures. Sort out the debt and move on. (If it were my organisation I would take the new coaches’ wages out of Mckie’s too, but that is another story.)

I don’t doubt that if appointed, Michael Bradley will prove me wrong and at some point down the line I will be made to eat my words, but the decision still does not seem like the right one for anything other than financial reasons. Surely if we were appointing a rugby nobody we could have taken one of our own home-grown coaching nobodies on board – Craig Chalmers from Melrose is not coaching at that much different a level and has had considerable success. Peter Wright and Ally Donaldson may also have been in the frame. If we are giving a coach a chance to turn from nobody into somebody, shouldn’t it be one of our own?

Answers on a postcard please.

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4 comments on “Michael Who?

  1. A.D. on

    I can understand Lowe being on the panel and the Edinburgh chief exec. but Robinson and McKie being there is concerning.

    I pray that Robinson isn’t going to try to influence team selection etc. from his position. He has a lot of power but this would be a way of overstretching himself. Bradley could hardly be called a ‘yes man’ and he had his own way of doing things in Connacht, but he has been in the wilderness (coaching in the equivolent of Prem 2 in Ireland) and would have been relatively cheap.

    Chalmers, Donaldson and Wright would have been passed over because they would be as cheap to employ, but have no Pro coaching experience. Will the SRU compromise and take one or more of them on as assistant coaches? (Smith looks set to leave).

    Whoever is appointed/retained as assistant(s) and which players will be brought in will be a pretty strong indicator of how much involvent the SRU will truly want in Edinburgh’s daily goings-on.

    McKie’s and Heggarty’s salary are a different matter, entirely.

  2. HARPIN' ON RUGBY on

    Point of information…

    The “Connacht from before” of which you speak got to the semifinals of the Amlin Cup last season where they kept big spending Toulon scoreless in the second half. Given their resources compared to the other three Irish Provinces, that’s not half bad.

  3. Gregor Hollerin on

    What does a “nobody” Scottish coach have to do to make the next level?
    There are a lot of good coaches out there but there’s a glass ceiling, if you were not an international in your pomp, chances are you’ll find it a lot harder to be involved in the professional coaching set up.
    A.D. is right, the aforementioned coaches most likely were passed over because they have no pro-coaching experience, but why doesn’t it work both ways? Shouldn’t people like Gregor Townsend have to gather more experience in the amateur game before making the leap to the club or international set up?
    Robinson already does influence team selection, the decision to rest several players before the world cup is not the start of the problem, but instead it’s the problem coming out into the public domain.
    As for McKie influencing coach selection, he is in real danger of bringing his relationship with fans to the point of no return, if I were him I would keep a low profile and work tirelessley in the background to improve matters.

  4. Stuart on

    Agree that if Bradley was the best we could do we should be promoting from within. Lineen has gotten to just one play-off final, but I would give him one more season. I would like to see Prem 1 candidates like Chalmers step up, or invited to take age level national teams and give them a chance to show what they are made of. Difficult times, we’ve never been closer to being world beaters and never been further away, our fortunes on a knife’s edge as always.

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