FORMER Scotland prop Ali Dickinson has joined Bristol Bears as scrum coach, agreeing a three-year contract with the English club. Now 36, he had been working in the same capacity with the SRU since retiring from playing in 2018.
“The opportunity to join a club like Bristol is massive for me and I’m grateful to Pat [Lam, the Bear’s director of rugby] for putting his faith in me,” Dickinson said on the Bears website. “I’ve been impressed by the environment and vision of the Bears and clearly everything is in place for the club to push forward over the next few years.
“I have ambitions to be world class in my field and have already learned so much during my time coaching with Scotland. The quality of the Bears forward unit – with a blend of experience and really exciting young players – is outstanding and I’m looking forward to working with the group, continuing to develop that pack mentality and helping to take Bears to the next level.”
Lam, who was briefly a Scotland assistant coach just as Dickinson’s playing career was starting, said he believed his new recruit had what it takes to become outstanding in his field. “After a lengthy and thorough process, we’re delighted to bring Alasdair onboard as the standout candidate for the scrum coach role,” he said.
“Alasdair is a young coach with huge ability and a hunger to develop himself into a world-class scrum coach. He’s played at the very highest level and has a detailed understanding of the set piece and how it can be a destructive weapon for the team. We’re proud of the progress we have made with our set piece and our ambition is to have the most dominant scrum in the Gallagher Premiership.”
Born in Dundee, Dickinson played for Edinburgh for four years from 2003 before moving to Gloucester then on to Sale. He returned to the capital in 2013 for what turned out to be another five years, and had won 58 Scotland caps by the time he retired.