Currie have moved swiftly to fill the head coach void created by Ally Donaldson’s departure by giving their former centre Ben Cairns the job.
The seven-times capped Scotland centre, who started out at Royal High before switching to the Malleny Park outfit, was yesterday handed the top role in a new coaching structure which includes his brother Mark, Fergus Pringle and Campbell Reynolds.
Cairns, who also starred for Edinburgh Rugby in a playing career that was brought to a premature end earlier this year because of injury, spent the season which has just ended as skills and defence coach at Currie. His experience was vital as he assisted Ally Donaldson in engineering a spectacular turnaround in the club’s fortunes after a troubled start to the campaign.
The 28-year-old displayed his aptitude for the task and was the natural successor to Donaldson, who announced last week that he was moving to a new role at the club. “I am really excited by the opportunity,” said Cairns. “I have a long affiliation with the club and I’m really privileged to be asked to be head coach.”
Donaldson and Graham Hogg, who is also relinquishing his coaching responsibilities at the Capital club, will be available as advisors to the individuals involved in the new set up, although Donaldson is confident that the new team’s combination of youth and experience will build on the strong second half of the RBS Premiership campaign in which they rose from the threat of relegation to finish in seventh place.
Cairns acknowledged the benefit of having the previous incumbents available to provide guidance. “I’ve learnt a lot over the years from Ally and Greco [Hogg],” he said. “I take a lot of confidence in the fact they have backed me for this new role and see it as a massive positive that I can rely on their support in my first season as a head coach.”
On a day-to-basis, Cairns will be supported by his brother Mark, the current captain, whose role will be as specialist breakdown coach and video analyst. His input will be invaluable, although the contribution of the all-action flanker will be missed after he called time on a playing career that saw him earn international honours at age group, sevens and club levels, as well featuring in the side which twice landed the Premiership title.
Completing the coaching line up will be the experienced duo of Pringle and Reynolds. The involvement of Reynolds ensures continuity in the coaching set up, given his long association with the club.
Meanwhile, Pringle’s appointment marks his return to the game following a year away after leaving Boroughmuir. He also has links to the club, having played there as a drafted professional while performing for Edinburgh in the professional ranks.
Cairns is pleased with the men who have brought in to support him. “I have had the pleasure of playing alongside and being coached by Fergus,” he continued. “I’m delighted we have got him on board. And with Campbell Reynolds also, I see us as a very strong coaching team.”
Pringle is also relishing a return to a hands-on role, stating: “I’m really looking forward to it. Currie have previously enjoyed success and are currently in an exciting re-building phase.
“Hopefully we can build on that. I’m looking forward to joining Currie and working with Ben and other coaches as well as the players.”