Edinburgh Rugby record holder Ben Cairns is being tipped for a “huge” coaching career as he prepares to take his Currie side to Boroughmuir for a BT Premiership derby tomorrow.
Cairns, 28, has been forced to retire through injury but has been quick to immerse himself in coaching back at the club which launched him on the road to eight Scotland caps.
Prop forward John Cox says: “Ben has come in and demonstrated that he can have a huge future in coaching depending on how far he wants to take it.
“Ben has a very technical edge in the mould of two previous Currie coaches, Ally Donaldson and Graham Hogg, who decided to take a step back.
“But he also brings a modern insight straight from the professional game as well as knowing the Currie way from his own early playing days.
“This was really brought home when he analysed a heavy defeat at Gala in a match we went in to carried away by an opening success against Hawick.
“What sums up Ben’s approach is the fact he was able to break down the tries we scored and contrast with the ease that Gala got over our line.
“Ben recognised that whereas our scoring moves went through around ten phases, Gala were immediately able to exploit turnovers and score from minimal phases.”
It was questionable whether Gala needed to recycle the ball two or four times for each of their touchdowns but, no matter, the damage was done.
Cox adds: “A lot of people were intrigued by how someone as relatively young as Ben in coaching terms would work out. They needn’t have worried. There is no messing around with Ben.”
It is particularly impressive that in the wake of the defeat at Gala, there was an immediate rebound by Currie to beat Edinburgh Accies.
“What has helped is the fact that our new players arrived in plenty of time to prepare for the new season. A synergy was quickly established.”
With no pros available to any club this weekend due to an Edinburgh-Glasgow back-up game at Stirling on Monday, Currie’s line-up includes Cypriot internationalists Fidias Efthymiou (centre) and Marko Mladenovic (flanker), Aussie wing Chris Logan, former Exeter Chiefs lock Jamie Gray and teenage Dunbar centre Matt McPhillips, whom Cairns thinks could be a special talent in his old position.
“Matt is already proving himself a very vocal leader alongside Fidias, a big, physical ball carrier.
“As for Marko he adds bite to our pack and, importantly, we have retained a spine of the side from the recent past as well.”
Still Edinburgh’s all-time joint-top try scorer in Europe with nine, alongside Chris Paterson, Cairns relishes a return to one of his former clubs. I played one game for Boroughmuir as an Edinburgh player returning from injury and we lost in the last minute. Hopefully it’s a better outcome [for Currie] tomorrow,” he muses.
Elsewhere, Edinburgh Accies make seven enforced changes as they bid to register first points at home to a Heriot’s team who have Ben Cogley replacing the emigrated Murray Douglas at lock.
In National League Division One, Watsonians entertain Jed-Forest while Stewart’s/Melville are at home to Marr.
Top BT Premiership try-scorers
4: Graham Spiers (Gala), Sam Pecquer (Edinburgh Accies).
3: Craig Dods (Gala), Rory Hutton (Hawick).
2: George Graham (Gala), Ali Price (Stirling), Ruaridh Scott (Boroughmuir), Magnus Bradbury (Boroughmuir), Chris Logan (Currie), Mike Vernal (Currie), Jack Turley (Heriot’s), Grant Anderson (Ayr), Kerr Gossman (Ayr).