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In his wisdom, Alan Solomons steps down

Alan Solomons - pic © Al Ross
Alan Solomons - pic © Al Ross

Scottish Rugby has confirmed today that Alan Solomons has decided to end his time as Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach, just 4 weeks into the season and following a dispiriting run of performances from the capital pro-team. It adds a little more woe at Murrayfield after Duncan Weir was confirmed to have a broken jaw that will keep him out over the next international period.

Current attack/backs coach Duncan Hodge will become acting Head Coach with Stevie Scott and Peter Wilkins staying in their current roles.

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson, said: “Alan came in as Head Coach at a difficult time in Edinburgh Rugby’s history and helped to stabilise and strengthen the club.

“He achieved some notable successes including leading the first Scottish team to a European Final of the Challenge Cup in 2015 and back to back 1872 Scottish Cup victories over Glasgow Warriors.

“Duncan brings his recent coaching experience from the Scotland national team as well as his long playing career with Edinburgh into the role and he will receive our full support to keep moving the club forward.”

The large caveat to that statement should probably be: “until we can find a replacement of the calibre of Dave Rennie”, which will be a much harder sell for a team without the growth, culture or international class of Glasgow. The stuttering performances of Edinburgh’s attacking line will need to change, and quickly, if Hodge is to mount a serious case for his retention longer term.

There are several bright points on Edinburgh’s horizon, notably the back-row depth and the presence of WP Nel for at least one more year as well as the groundshare at Myreside in the second half of the season. It’s a good fixer upper team for someone, but sadly most coaches round these parts have just begun seasons and contracts. Back to the southern hemisphere?

Alan Solomons said: “I have greatly enjoyed working with the players and coaches and feel I have helped to put the club on a much stronger footing over the past three years and am leaving it in a better place than when I arrived.”

In other news, Glasgow have confirmed the signing of 27-year-old USA international Langilangi Haupeakui on a 2 year deal, and it has also been confirmed that Vern Cotter will return to French rugby as coach of Montpellier after his time with Scotland ends.

Let the speculation on Edinburgh coaches begin! We’re unlikely to see such a quick resolution to this one as we did during the Townsend/Cotter switch as there wasn’t much notice, so you have time to draw breath and make really informed guesses…

13 Responses

  1. So Solomon’s has stepped down. He has got a good team together at Edinburgh, but has not managed to turn them into anything inspirational, so the time had undoubtedly come. Hodge to hold the fort. It’s an opportunity for him in general, but in particular to demonstrate that he was being held back in developing the Edinburgh attack. Alas, I seriously doubt the SRU will tempt someone of Rennie’s quality to Murrayfiled/Myreside.

  2. Although I’m all for giving Scottish coaches opportunities, I’m not sure that Duncan Hodge’s record can stand much scrutiny. As the backs coach at Edinburgh and Scotland prior to that, he resided over a decline in both.
    I understand that he is doing the job on a temporary basis, but I’d hope that the RFU are checking other options.
    What about Stuart Lancaster? A good coach I think. Would he be tempted with a head coach role rather than being the forwards coach at Leinster?
    Any hats in the ring?

    1. I was hoping for Ben Ryan at Glasgow before Rennie appeared. So I would like to see him approached for the Edinburgh role, but in reality can’t see him being interested given the offers he supposedly has (super rugby). It would certainly bring a new philosophy to Edinburgh play, maybe even developing more ball playing forwards which I feel Scotland lack (at least until Du Preez qualifies).

      1. I don’t really understand why being a brilliant 7s coach would translate to 15s?

        Lancaster would be a good shout but is probably out of Edinburgh’s league.

      2. FF,

        I agree, Ben Ryan hasn’t proved anything at the full game. He took a bunch of ill disciplined 7’s guys and showed them how good they could be if they got their act together. All credit to Ryan for doing that.

        Not quite so sure about Lancaster, haven’t seen anyone wanting to give him the top slot. Maybe a bit of boldness might pay off. I know he is tarnished by the WC, but, Embra…….he could do worse and so could they. He isn’t a Rennie, but Embra’s not Glasgow. Quite a hard sell for Dodson to get a top level guy in.

    2. Lancaster would be good for Edinburgh, played for Scotland at various grades. Not sure how he will feel about it though. Probably the right job, wrong timing.

      There will be no shortage of interest, thats for sure, Edinburgh is an attractive location. The team can only get better and some small changes will make a big difference.

  3. Although I’ve been calling for Solomons to be replaced, it seems strange for him to throw in the towel so soon into the season. Wonder if there have been ructions behind the scenes and the SRU has intervened. It doesn’t help Cotter’s cause to have one of his main feeder clubs under-performing so badly. Edinburgh in there current state are most likely to be attractive to a coach on the way up who can get international-level players playing to their potential and create a team ethos which is sadly lacking. Townsend inherited a significantly better quality team from Lineen and took them on to the next level. I’m sorry but Hodge and Scott are part of the problem rather than the solution, having failed to impress in their coaching roles. The fact that they are Scottish and SRU-endorsed should be immaterial.

      1. Totally agree. Frankly I doubt he will cut it.

        Given Dodson’s other pronouncement today, makes a top line appointment needed sooner rather than later, if his proposition gets passed.

  4. Hard to imagine many high caliber options coming forward, desperate for this job. The best thing we have going for us is a stand out prop with a year left on his contract and the fact the Edinburgh is one of the supposed citadels of European rugby, though the performances of our team and the attendance they attract would weaken that case.

    I’d be amazed if Lancaster took the job. I do however, think he’d probably fit and his desire for more expansive rugby would be a boon but it depends on how far he thinks his stock has fallen.

    We do, it has to be said, have a middling reputation for rehabing the careers of former England coach.

  5. It’s a shame that this has happened at this point in the season – surely AS knew his coat was on a shoogly peg prior to the Pro12 kick off, and perhaps would have been wiser to leave then rather than 4 games in, and at the unfortunate point where your new 10 has just taken delivery of a wired up jaw.

    I do think that he has steadied the Edinburgh ship, but for whatever reasons, has been unable to turn “being harder to beat” into “capable of getting a win against anyone”. I would suspect this is down to his fondness for a set pattern of play, when other coaches and teams have successfully adopted a much more liberal approach to playing the game within certain structures, but having the nous and capability to change the playbook depending on what is in front of them.

    In some respects what AS has achieved mirrors the progress Scotland have made over the last few years. Scotland have also become much harder to beat, but still are some way from the finished article. The difference would be that Scotland are trying to (and achieving at times) to instill a “heads-up ” approach to rugby which is gradually bringing them closer to other national sides. Edinburgh have merely maintained the gap.

    I would love to see Stuart Lancaster at Edinburgh. He is a top class coach, with some excellent ideas on how to play the game. It seems longer, but the debacle of Englands world cup exit was only a year ago, and he quite rightly took some time out of the game. Where he seems to struggle is management of players – I don’t think this will be as much of an issue at club level as it would at international level, and his other qualities would be allowed to shine through. Eddie Jones, for all his talk, didn’t change the England squad massively from what Lancaster had – and they did quite well this year, so he has a track record of building successful teams.

    1. Good points. Allegedly hodge and Solomons were in some conflict over edimburgh’s limited approach to the game. Hopefully we’ll see a bit more ambitious rugby. I doubt hodge has the calibre to change our fortunes much but Lancaster would be a bit of a coup. He has a reputation to rehab but I think his sights are set higher (Super rugby or Top 14). Whether he can get positions in those leagues is up for debate but Dodson is nothing if not ambitious in his recruitment.

  6. Not sure if big Vern is planning on taking him with him, but if not, a sideways move for O’Halleron might not be the worst decision given he’s already on the payrole and might be surplus to Toonie’s requirements.

    Failing that, surely Richie Gray would be a popular choice for the home grown brigade?

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