CALUM FORRESTER will step down as Ayr’s head coach at the end of the season. The former Glasgow Warriors back-row has been in the role since taking over from Peter Laverie in the summer of 2014 and has an association with the club stretching back ten years to when he was picked up as part of the pro player draft.
Ayr expect to name their new head coach early next week.
After dropping out of the professional game, Forrester had two seasons as club captain at Ayr in 2012-13 and 2013-14, picking up a league and couple double at the end of the first of those campaigns.
Last season was the high-water mark of his fledgling coaching career, with Ayr finally recapturing the league title for the first time since his days as captain, thanks to a nerve-jangling victory over Melrose in the play-off Grand Final at the Greenyards.
That result went a long way to banishing the painful memory of the season before, when they finished the regular Premiership season well clear of the chasing pack but lost their Grand Final clash to Heriot’s at Millbrae in excruciating circumstances.
Forrester, who is still only 31, was named ‘Coach of the Year’ at last May’s Scottish Rugby Club Awards Dinner, having spent the summer of 2016 working at the Crusaders high performance unit in Canterbury as a recipient of the prestigious John Macphail Coaching Scholarship.
This has been a frustrating season for Ayr, with a couple of excellent results, such as a victory away to runaway league leaders Melrose at the start of January, being undermined by several sub-standard performances and painful defeats, which has left the club battling to qualify for the play-offs.
“I have been involved with the club for ten years now and have loved it all. This group has achieved a lot and I think the time is right to step down and let a new face take over,” said Forrester. “I would like to thank everyone at the club, including Billy McHarg [the club president], the medical staff, the players and the fans for making it such a memorable time in my life”.
Meanwhile, two stalwarts of the playing staff are also on their way out. George Hunter, who recently passed 100 games for the club, is moving to London at the end of the season, while Scott Sutherland is hanging up his boots after representing more than 200 appearances over 13 years.