WATSONIANS will confirm later today that Stevie Lawrie will be their head coach next season. The former Edinburgh hooker, who was capped by Scotland once against Samoa in 2013, has been assistant coach at Heriot’s for the last five years, and was a key figure in the Goldenacre outfit winning the league championship for the first time since the turn of the century in 2015 followed by a league and cup double last season.
“I played nearly 100 games for Watsonians – winning the Cup with them in 2006 – and I have very fond memories of that time playing under Cammy Mather, and laterally Gary Callendar. I think this is the only job I would have left Heriot’s for,” said Lawrie.
“It has been a great five years at Goldenacre and we’ve had some unbelievable success in recent seasons. I owe a lot to [head coach] Phil Smith, who gave me the opportunity and allowed me to develop as a coach, and to the Heriot’s committee who have been really brilliant to work with. It is a great club, but I think it was the right time for this new challenge.”
“Watsonians have an excellent squad with some really exciting players, which is a testament to the work Marcus Di Rollo and Simon Taylor have done during their stint as coaches. Moving up into the Premiership is not easy so they have done really well to stay up, and they have lost quite a few games this season by less than five points so that shows that they have the potential to get even stronger.”
Lawrie is going to be assisted by Edinburgh pro Neil Cochrane will look after defence and contact analysis; while veteran Currie scrum-half Richard Sweden will take charge of the backs.
“Richard and I work together at the school [George Watsons College] which will help because coaching and playing in the BT Premiership is a really big commitment, and just being able to catch up during the course of the day doing free periods and so on will really help,” said Lawrie. “He is a very laid back character, which will be a good counter-balance because I can be quite intense.”
“I wanted to have a really robust coaching environment for us all to learn and develop, and I wanted to have that influence from the professional environment which Neil will bring,” said Lawrie.
Elsewhere, Hawick are looking for a new head coach after announcing yesterday that Nikki Walker will move on during the summer. The former Scotland wing will see out the remainder of the season at Mansfield Park, which includes a relegation play-off against the runner-up National One.
Hawick are in discussions with assistant coach Scott MacLeod about whether he wants to remain part of the set-up next season.
Images: Craig Watson