Gala find a blend of youth and experience with new coaching line-up

Bill Noble has been recruited as director of rugby, while Southern Knights full-back Fraser Thomson will lead the coaching panel, assisted by Opeta Palepoi, Euan Dods and John Amos

Bill Noble will be Gala's Director of Rugby next season. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson
Bill Noble will be Gala's Director of Rugby next season. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson

GALA have unveiled Bill Noble – previously a long-serving member of the Melrose coaching team – as their new  Director of Rugby. The club has also confirmed that Southern Knights full-back Fraser Thomson has jumped on board to lead the coaching panel at Netherdale, with Opeta (OP) Palepoi, Euan Dods and John Amos providing assistance.
“Noble – former Gala Academy Head of PE and Health and Wellbeing – brings a wealth of knowledge and ability to personal and rugby development and is tasked with enhancing the integration and development across all levels of rugby in Galashiels, in addition to his focus on the club’s first team,” said a statement issued by the club this morning.

“Thomson is well known to Gala having started his career at the club before going onto have a successful playing career for Melrose. He is currently a contracted player with the Southern Knights and will be balancing playing for them with coaching until Super Six season two is concluded.

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“OP has been with Gala for several years as player and coach and is well respected within the local rugby community. He will continue his association with the club within this revised coaching structure.

“Dods, the current Gala captain, will take on a formal player/coaching role while Amos will continue to provide individual skills coaching.”

Noble explained that his role will be on a town-wide, strategic level. “Gala’s revised coaching structure has been put in place with an overarching focus to build and develop rugby throughout the town, as well as drive the success of the first team,” he said.

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“This new position will undoubtedly be tough at times, but I’m confident it will also be rewarding. I believe we have a good blend of local coaches, who have strong connections with Gala, and who have a wealth of rugby knowledge between them. We look forward to preparing and working with the players in the squad and meeting any challenges the new season may bring.”

Club president Ian Dalgleish believes that this new set-up can help the club as it looks to re-establish itself near the summit of the club game in Scotland.  “These appointments provide the club with a very strong rugby management team to take forward and develop our squad of young local players to the level they are capable of achieving,” he said.

“We’ve been consulting with our former professional players, as well as other key individuals, in order to update the approach to rugby in the town and we have realistic aspirations. We believe that these positive coaching developments will help drive the club’s ambition, strengthen our position within the club game and engage all levels of rugby in the town as we strive towards the goal of a successful, sustainable and community driven club – something we’d already started to work towards with the launch of Maroon’d @ Gala event which will now take place in April 2021.”

Southern Knights head coach Rob Chrystie welcomed the news that Thomson will be combining his Super6 responsibilities with helping coach at Gala.

“Fraser is a really talented player. Through his many years at Melrose and latterly being part of the senior management team of the Southern Knights, he has a great deal to offer any rugby team that’s fortunate enough to work with him,” said Chrystie.

“I know he’s absolutely committed to balancing his responsibilities to his Southern Knights team mates with his new coaching obligations at Gala. This is a really positive development where we see the potential of our Super 6 franchise expanding in influence to other teams in the Borders.”

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About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

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