Edinburgh assistant coach Stevie Scott is excited about the future after agreeing a two-year contract extension but cannot look beyond the clash with Munster in Cork next week which he describes as a “semi-final”.
Along with backs coach Duncan Hodge and defence coach Peter Wilkins, Scott has committed to the BT Murrayfield-based pro team and hopes that next season will see European Champions Cup rugby back in the Scottish capital.
Head coach Alan Solomons had already signed on for another year and now his key lieutenants will be back working with him next term and continuing the project when the 65-year-old South African moves on.
The future can wait, however, as sixth-placed Edinburgh are fully consumed by the task of securing that top-half finish with two games to play. Cardiff Blues visit on the last day of the regular season but before that looms the titanic clash with Munster, with whom they are level on points but ahead on points difference, in Cork on Friday.
“That’s the only game we can think of at the moment, it’s huge, pretty much a semi-final,” said Scott.
He revealed that back-rower Nasi Manu, who has been out with a long-term neck injury, and Gloucester-bound Scotland centre Matt Scott, who injured an arm against Connacht last month, are back in training and could be involved in Ireland.
“We will have a couple of big sessions early in the week, on Monday and Tuesday, and see how they come through,” said the forwards coach.
The former Melrose, Gala, Borders, Edinburgh and Scotland hooker has been in his post since 2013 and had a stint as interim head coach prior to Solomons’ arrival. He and the South African carried the bulk of the coaching duties between them until the arrival of Hodge from the Scotland set-up after the World Cup and Wilkins at the beginning of the season.
The Borderer is delighted to be carrying on his career at Edinburgh. “As a club they have played a big part in my life. Unfortunately I didn’t quite make 100 games for them in my playing career, I was stuck on 99, so I might yet get to pull the boots on and get the century,” quipped the 41-year-old.
The signing up of the three assistant coaches continues the work to build a platform for the club moving forward, with 24 players also committing themselves for next season.
Hodge was alongside Scott in that interim period following Michael Bradley’s departure before going on to work with Scotland coaching team.
The 26-times capped former Scotland stand-off, who played more than 150 times for Edinburgh, said: “It’s a massive thing for me to coach at my home side. I’ve spent large parts of my life in Edinburgh and it’s great to be able to influence what’s going on at the club.
“We’re evolving as a team and this is a great chance to develop some of the young players here, especially the backs.”
London-born Wilkins built his coaching career in Australia, working in the Brisbane club scene before progressing into the Queensland Reds set-up. He said: “I’m really pleased to be extending my contract, to be able to continue the work we’ve started here.
“I’ve enjoyed my first season here immensely. It’s certainly a longer season than I was used to in the southern hemisphere but that was part of the appeal – to be able to work through the ebbs and flows, to continue to improve and tweak the systems – I’ve really enjoyed that process.”
Solomons added: “It is great news for Edinburgh Rugby that Stevie, Hodgey and Pete have committed to the club.
“It will provide us with the stability and continuity which is needed to keep the club moving forward. They are all good coaches and first class blokes, who have the interests of the club at heart.
“There is great synergy between us and I look forward to us continuing to work together to keep the club moving in the right direction.”
Edinburgh player signings for 2016-17: Lewis Carmichael, George Turner, Grant Gilchrist, Fraser McKenzie, Solomoni Rasolea, Sean Kennedy, Nathan Fowles, Glenn Bryce, Rory Scholes, Ross Ford, Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Tom Brown, Phil Burleigh, Cornell Du Preez, Neil Cochrane, Duncan Weir, Damien Hoyland, Stuart McInally, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Chris Dean, Alasdair Dickinson, Ben Toolis, Jamie Ritchie.