Super 6 coaches announced
The Super 6 clubs have today (Friday) confirmed their full-time head coach appointments.
Following the recent signing of the tournament Licence Agreements between all six clubs and Scottish Rugby, the posts have been confirmed.
The successful Super 6 head coaches include four from the Tennent's Premiership: Peter Murchie (Ayr), Rob Chrystie (Melrose), Steve Lawrie (Watsonians) and Ben Cairns, who will leave Currie to join Stirling County. They are joined by Ciaran Beattie and Graham Shiel, who take up the roles at Heriot’s and Boroughmuir respectively.
The head coaches have been interviewed, recruited and will be employed directly by each individual club.
Scottish Rugby was involved in an advisory and oversight capacity, with the final decision on whom to recruit being decided by each club.
The coaches 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, which begins next season.
Four of the six coaches – Cairns, Murchie, Lawrie and Shiel – earned senior international honours for the Scotland national team, while Beattie and Chrystie represented Scotland 7s and Scotland A.
The remit of Scottish Rugby’s Head of Academies, Sean Lineen [pictured right] extends to on-field responsibility for the Super 6 competition and he expressed his delight at seeing opportunities for homegrown coaches to pursue their career ambitions in Scotland.
He said: “Super 6 aims to narrow the gap between the professional, elite level and the top tier of Scotland’s domestic set-up, both from a playing and coaching perspective.
“The appointment of six, full-time Scottish coaches is a critical part of that process. It rewards the coaches for investing their time in the game and creates a meaningful pathway to the elite level of the sport.
“Coaching is an incredibly important pillar which is driving the objective of improving rugby in Scotland through the Super 6 process.”
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.
The agreements outline the obligations and rights of all parties and the funding models which will enable the new competition to progress. They are based on the Franchise Information documents released in November 2017 (excluding those elements currently forming part of the ongoing consultation with clubs as overseen by Scottish Rugby Council’s Standing Committee on Governance, under its Independent Chair, Gavin MacColl QC).
Scottish Rugby funding is contributing to this key element of the Scottish Coaching Pathway.
Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson, said: “The signing of the Licence Agreements is a significant step in the progress of Super 6. We have worked closely with the six respective clubs, listened and collaborated together, to ensure the scope of the agreements works for all parties.
“We now have a clear framework to use going forward which enables both ourselves and the participating clubs to continue the work we have been undertaking to progress the Super 6 model and all the necessary elements which go into building an exciting new competition and level of rugby in Scotland."
On the head coach appointments, he added: “We have an on-going objective to improve the depth of coaching in Scotland at all levels. The Super 6 provides a unique, full-time opportunity for this exciting group of coaches to continue their development and make a significant contribution to improving rugby at this level. I’d like to congratulate the group and wish all them well in their new roles.
SUPER 6 COACHES
Peter Murchie, Ayr
Ayr will retain the services of the former Scotland full-back, who played 116 times for Glasgow Warriors over an eight-year period that included winning the Guinness PRO12 in 2015 and three Test caps.
His coaching journey began during his playing days at Glasgow Hawks U18 in 2013, Hillhead Jordanhill in 2015 and GHK in 2016, alongside roles with Glasgow & the West U16 academy side.
His final season as a player saw him take up the role of player/coach with Scottish Rugby’s partner club Stade Nicois before returning home this year, where he took on the role of Ayr Backs Coach alongside working with Scotland U20 during the Six Nations and as Assistant Coach to Scotland U19.
This season he has taken up a joint role between Ayr, as Head Coach, and as a Specialist Skills Coach working with youngsters in the Fosroc Scottish Rugby Academy.
Murchie holds a UKCC level 3 qualification and has a Diploma of Higher Education in Sport and Fitness. He currently in his final year of a Degree in Sport, Fitness and Coaching, which he has undertaken part-time with support of Scottish Rugby over the last five years.
He said: “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
Boroughmuir have appointed former Scotland 7s and Scotland Women 7s Head Coach, Graham Shiel, who joins with over a decade of coaching experience that followed a distinguished playing career that saw him win 18 caps and score 19 points for the national team.
His coaching journey began with Stewart's Melville, assisting the club from 2003 to 2006 earning promotion into the Premiership, before joining Edinburgh Rugby as an Academy Manager.
His academy tenure was accompanied by his appointment as Scotland U19 Assistant Coach before he joined the Scotland 7s set-up in 2010 for a five-year spell as Head Coach and, latterly, Skills and Analysis Coach, before joining the Glasgow & the West branch of the Fosroc Academy in 2015.
Shiel has spent the past three years developing the country’s leading academy talent, with particular attention paid to bridging the gap between the programme and the club and school system. During this time, he has been Scotland U16 (Blues) Assistant Coach, focusing on attack, before being appointed Head Coach of the side earlier this year.
Shiel was a key figure in the Melrose side that dominated the club game through the 1990s. He is a UKCC Level 3 accredited coach and is currently working towards UKCC Level 4.
He said: “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
Former Selkirk and Border Reivers scrum-half and Scotland 7s internationalist, Ciaran Beattie, joins Heriot’s from his role as Scotland Women Assistant Coach and Technical Blueprint Development Manager at Scottish Rugby.
His coaching career began with the governing body as a Performance Analyst in 2009, a post he held for five years, the last of which he combined with a season as Defence Coach for Melrose in their 2013/14 title-winning year.
He then pursued his coaching south of the Border with a three-year spell as Defence and Backs Coach for English National 1 side Loughborough, finishing up as head coach for the National 1 side, and as Head Coach of the university’s BUCS Division One side, before re-joining Scottish Rugby last year.
Ciaran has a Degree in Education from Edinburgh University, is UKCC Level 3 accredited and is currently working towards Level 4.
He said: “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.”
Looking back on his coaching journey, Beattie added: “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
Scotland Club XV Melrose Head Coach Rob Chrystie remains in post having led the Borderers to cup glory in 2016/17 and a league and cup double in 2017/18, in two successful seasons as the club’s Head Coach.
His tenure at the Greenyards stretches back seven years, with his leading role preceded by two seasons as Skills and Second XV Coach (2011-13) and three as Backs Coach (2013-16), when the club won the league title in 2013/14.
Alongside his time at the club, Chrystie worked on Scottish Rugby’s National Skills Specialist Programme for three years (2010-2013), is an accredited Scottish Rugby coach (UKCC Level 3).
Rob represented Scotland ‘A’, Coventry, Border Reivers and Bath at scrum-half over a nine-year period, before returning to Scotland to turn his hand to coaching.
He said: “Melrose has been at forefront of the domestic game for the past ten 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
Former Edinburgh and Scotland centre Ben Cairns retired in 2014 after 116 professional club games and seven caps for his country and joins Stirling County from Currie Chieftains, where he has coached for the past seven years.
Cairns re-joined his former club in 2011 as a player and Skills Coach, progressing to Defence & Skills Coach (2013), Head Coach (2014) and, latterly, Head of Rugby last year.
Throughout this time, he has combined club and school coaching with George Watson’s College with various international age-grade and representative coaching roles.
He has been Head Coach of Scotland U19 and the Scotland U20 development side since 2017 following assistant coaching roles with the Scotland U19 developments side (2015), Scotland U18 (2015-17), Edinburgh U20 (2015 and 2016) and East U18 (2015-2017).
Cairns was also a recipient of the John Macphail Coaching Scholarship in 2015 and is a UKCC level 4 accredited coach.
He said: “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.
“Having this new tier of competition should help and I definitely see it as an opportunity to keep pushing up the ranks towards as a full-time pro coach."
Steve Lawrie, Watsonians
Watsonians Head Coach Steve Lawrie will remain at the club he joined as Head Coach last summer after five seasons as Assistant Coach at Heriot’s from the 2011/12 season, winning two league and two cup titles.
Before a professional playing career that took in spells with Edinburgh, Doncaster and Scotland 7s, Lawrie represented Watsonians 96 times, lifting the Cup in 2006.
Lawrie’s club coaching was accompanied by five years with national age-grade sides, coaching the Scotland U20 forwards as the 2013 and 2018 World Rugby U20 Championships, two seasons as Scotland U19 Assistant Coach (2017/18 and 18/19, Scotland U16 Head Coach (2015/16 and 16/17) and U16 Assistant Coach (2014/15).
A PE teacher at George Watson’s School, Lawrie has been granted a secondment to pursue the full-time role, having recently completed his UKCC Level 4 coaching qualification.
He said: “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.”