MARK CAIRNS will carry on as head coach at Currie Chieftains next season, and will be assisted by two highly-experienced former Malleny Park supremos in Ally Donaldson and Bruce McNaughton, as the Balerno outfit looks to rebuild and then consolidate their position at the top of what remains of the club game following the painful schism brought about by the creation of Super 6.
Edinburgh and Scotland centre Matt Scott, who came through the ranks at Malleny, is getting back involved to assist with analysis. His brother, Fergus, who has played hooker for Chieftains during the last three seasons after a stint on the books at Glasgow Warriors, will oversee strength and conditioning. Meanwhile, their father, Sean, has been appointed as Chairman of the Rugby Board, responsible for overseeing rugby policies across the club.
Two further specialist coaches are expected to join the set-up over the closed season.
Cairns stepped up from the assistant role he had held since 2014 to take over the reins at the club when his brother Ben left to join the Stirling County Super 6 programme midway through last season, guiding the 1st XV to a fourth place finish in the Premiership. He is a former club captain who played in both the championship seasons of 2006-07 and 2009-10. He also represented the Scotland Club XV and the Scotland 7s team. A Loughborough University graduate in sports science, he is a former teacher who co-founded Coach Logic (the international video analysis and communications platform) with Currie team mate Andy Muir.
Donaldson led the club to those Premiership triumphs in 2006-7 and 2009-10 during his 11-year stint as head coach, before stepping aside in 2015. He has also coached Scotland Under-18 and the Scotland Club XV, and is the Director of Rugby at George Watson’s School. He was a distinguished stand-off and captain for the club, Edinburgh District and Scotland A during his playing days.
McNaughton played ten seasons for Currie between 1983 and 1993, before becoming head coach from 1994 and 2002. He has also had coaching spells with Murrayfield Wanderers (2003-2005), Peebles (2005-2010) and Stewart’s Melville (2010-2015), as well as with Edinburgh U19 and U21 and Scotland U18 and U19.
Sean Scott played club rugby with Dunfermline and Currie, and represented Scotland U21 and North & Midlands. He coached at mini, midi and youth levels at Currie over a 20-year period, including taking Currie Colts to a Scottish Youth Cup victory in 2010 and coaching Edinburgh U16s. He was also a Premiership referee for a period of 15 years.
Matt Scott was a youth and senior fly-half/centre with Currie before becoming a professional rugby player. He made 62 appearances for Edinburgh Rugby from 2011-2016, and then transferred to play in the English Premiership with 34 appearances for Gloucester. He returned to Edinburgh in 2018 and is a member of the current squad. He has played 39 times for Scotland.
Fergus Scott also played youth and his early senior rugby at Currie, and represented Scotland at the Under-17, Under-18 and Under-20 levels, and more recently turned out for the Scotland Club XV. He was contracted with Glasgow Warriors from 2012 -2016, before returning to Mallemy Park, where he has co-captained and helped build the club’s Youth Development Programme and Youth Academy.
“Currie Chieftains have always built outwards from the management and coaching team, seeking to transition talented youngsters into polished players and to support established players to be the very best that they can be,” said Chieftains Chairman Charles Mullins. “This has contributed fundamentally to the ‘Currie way of playing’, which over the years has taken the club from a minor regional side to be amongst the best in the Scottish Premiership.
“We are exceptionally fortunate to be able to announce a hugely talented and experienced rugby management and coaching team, who are long-time Currie men and deeply committed to our future.
“We will now look to rebuild our player base from the core of our experienced players, youngsters coming through and recruitment of new players who wish to play the best of Scottish club rugby the ‘Currie way’.”
- Meanwhile, Watsonians have announced that Bruce Ruthven will coach their ‘Club XV’ in National 1 next season. The former Melrose stalwart will work closely with Fergus Pringle and Nikki Walker, who are taking charge of the club’s Super 6 team. Ruthven has previously held coaching positions with Luctonians, Ledbury, Orkney and Melrose and is the rugby coordinator at Stewart’s Melville College.