Edinburgh coach Hodge happy to return to role he loves most

Duncan Hodge is confident Edinburgh will improve greatly next term
Duncan Hodge is confident Edinburgh will improve greatly next term
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Duncan Hodge says he is looking forward to getting back to the job he knows best, working with the backs as attack coach, after a bruising few months as acting boss of Edinburgh.

It has been confirmed that the former Scotland stand-off, who was national attack coach for a few years through the 2015 World Cup, will remain in that role when Richard Cockerill takes over the top of job at the end of the season.

Calum MacRae will join Edinburgh as defence coach

Calum MacRae will join Edinburgh as defence coach

Hodge took the reins when Alan Solomons departed early in the season but, after an initial bounce, the season descended into a bit of a depressing slog, with a nine-game losing streak in all competitions only ended last Friday with a last-gasp win at home to the Dragons.

Yesterday evening it was announced that Scotland Sevens chief Calum MacRae would join Hodge as defence coach, replacing Peter Wilkins, as Cockerill’s Edinburgh continues to take shape.

There remains one more game of Hodge’s caretaker tenure to go, and he is determined to finish off on a high note against Glasgow at Scotstoun tomorrow evening, but the coach did cast his mind forward to next season when he faced the media yesterday.

“I suppose from a personal point of view, coaching attack is what I love doing and it’s what I’ll continue to do,” said Hodge.

“Richard will have his visions and his role pretty much mapped out and we haven’t had time to discuss that but he’ll say this is what I want and exactly map that out. I’m pretty sure he’ll want to change things, be authoritative and start addressing some of the issues the way he sees them. I’ve had a few calls and chats with Richard and he’s been good.”

Hodge has taken more than a few blows to the solar plexus in the past few months but he remains optimistic about the club’s future.

“There’s a good group of players here and everyone’s frustrated, gutted that we couldn’t have got a few more wins, bred confidence and then you don’t know how it would have gone,” he said. “We’re to blame for that and there are other factors, but you look at who has played a lot this year, Blair (Kinghorn), Murray McCallum, Magnus [Bradbury], the way Hamish [Watson] has played, the way Ben Toolis has played. There are a lot of quality individuals who have done well.

“We also have John Hardie with us next year, then Allan Dell’s won his first cap, Bergy’s [Simon Berghan] won his first cap ...”

Looking back at his seven-month stint in the hot seat as a whole, Hodge added: “There’s certain things you try and change, the issue is time. Personally, taking it over three weeks into the season is hard and the thing for Richard will be getting a good pre-season.

“Pro rugby, when you’ve got games back-to-back, [pre-season] is when you can make the most gains whether that’s conditioning, skills, mentally – that’s when you can make the gains so that’ll be a big thing for him. In-season it’s hard to make change and, while we made some, we still stumbled across those same inconsistencies that we’ve seen.

Meanwhile, Michael Allen will leave Edinburgh and the professional game at the end of the season to embark on a new career in the financial sector in the Scottish capital.

The former Ulster centre/wing, 26, has made 31 appearances for Edinburgh since joining the club on a two-year deal in 2015.