UNCERTAINTY surrounding the full impact of the Covid-19 shutdown on the Scottish club rugby scene continues, but Stirling County Wolves are not sitting on their hands waiting for more clarity on what the future might hold before getting their own house in order. They have acted quickly and decisively to replace Chris Faill as head coach for the 2020-21 season, with former player Craig Deacons returning to Bridgehaugh after four years developing his coaching credentials with Grangemouth Stags.
Deacons helped guide the Stags to the Caledonian League Division Two Midlands title in his first season at the club, and the Glenburgh side have now consolidated their position in Caledonian League One, finishing the 2019-20 campaign in fifth place – but the draw of returning to the place where he started his senior rugby journey was too strong to resist for the former second-row.
“County is significant to me in many ways,” he said. “I was part of their Under-18 system and was fortunate to play 17 senior seasons at the club so I know exactly how hard you have to work to pull on the jersey. I plan to take both my experience as a player at Stirling and a coach at Grangemouth, to help steer the club to many more successful seasons, enabling the next generation of players to reach their potential as individuals and as a squad.”
Stirling County Vice-President John Gibson believes the appointment fits into the club’s commitment to developing homegrown talent.
“In the forthcoming season, Deacs will work with Eddie Pollock, our Director of Rugby, to continue our plan to develop our rugby pathway for young players at Stirling County,” he said. “Our plans are well in place for the next two years. We have a program centered around player development.
“As a club, Stirling County is now well placed, as we have several promising young players transferring from our Academy into senior rugby and others attracted to the club because of the rugby pathway we have in place. However, central to all of this is coaching excellence, organisation and player support, all of which are all ingredients in creating a successful sporting environment.
“We all welcome Deacs back to the club in his new role and look forward to supporting him over the coming seasons. ‘Deacs’ is a County boy who will continue our tradition of both growing and developing players through the buoyant academy at the club.”
Gibson also paid tribute to the departing Faill, who has stepped down due to family and work commitments. “Chris’s input, hard-work and dedication to our club is an exemplar to all budding young coaches,” he said. “During his time with the club, he continually developed his coaching skills, achieving his UKCC Level 3 qualification along with the many Youth League wins and Scottish Youth Cup successes. On behalf of Stirling County, we wish him all the best and thank him for his contribution to the club ”
David Jamieson, Director of Rugby for Grangemouth Stags, wished the departing coach well. “He has gone with our full support and best wishes to take the head coach role of the Stirling Counties Wolves team,” said Jamieson. “Grangemouth Stags rugby club is always happy to see our coach progress in his rugby coaching career.
“Craig is a dedicated and talented coach and we have all benefited from his input over the past four seasons. We wish him all the best in his new position and will be happy to see him back around the club at anytime. We will be advertising for a new coach to help continue our own progression on and off the field.”