There were some big news announcements yesterday from both of Scotland’s professional clubs. The one from Edinburgh Rugby was about a departure while the one from Glasgow Warriors was about an arrival. Sticking one’s neck out it would seem that both announcements were seen as positive news by the clubs’ fans.
Edinburgh Rugby announced that Head Coach Alan Solomons was leaving and would be replaced in the interim by Duncan Hodge while Glasgow Warriors announced the acquisition of powerhouse player Langilangi Haupeakui from US PRO Rugby outfit Sacramento Express.
Alan Solomons vacates his post before completing his contract which would have taken him to the end of the current season. His previous contract expired at the end of last season and he had signed to stay on for one more year in Edinburgh.
There has always seemed to a bit of mixed feelings between the Edinburgh fans with some rather more supportive of Solomons than others. He took over at a time were really struggling and for some he has brought stability to the club and a measure of success, taking Edinburgh to a European Cup final, albeit in the second tier of Europe, and claiming back the 1872 Cup from bitter rivals Glasgow Warriors.
His critics feel that he has not done anymore with Edinburgh than a local coach could given the same level of investment and felt that his game plan was far too prescriptive and conservative and stifled his team, now where have we heard that before? It would seem that he didn’t have the copyright on this as far as many South African coaches go in the eyes of the various sets of fans.
Head coach Alan Solomons says criticism of Edinburgh’s playing style is ‘manifestly unfair’.
Solomons watched his team register their first win of the Pro12 season against Scarlets at Murrayfield, but some have criticised the side’s lack of attacking ambition under his stewardship.
“Personally I think the criticism is unfair,” Solomons said. “This talk they are under instruction not to run the ball is nonsense.”
Solomons is adamant that Edinburgh’s attacking prowess has developed under his assistant Duncan Hodge.
“We have worked very hard on our attack, Hodgy is doing a good job and it is a question of playing the conditions correctly and getting the result. It is professional sport and it is about winning.
“No-one has given them any instruction on how to play. They have all the options available to take under our game management plan. That criticism is manifestly unfair.
“We are improving year on year. We are carrying a number of injuries [Al Dickinson, Anton Bresler, Nasi Manu, Jason Tovey, Will Helu and Damien Hoyland are all currently unavailable] and we are not a big budget squad.
“We are not Toulon. We don’t have a massive amount of money but I think we have a good group of players.”
A team of 28, captained by flanker Roddy Grant, has been announced for Edinburgh Rugby’s opening pre-season friendly against Romania at the Greenyards tonight (Friday 21 August, kick-off 18:30 UK Time, 19:30 SA Time).
Bolstering the backs for this season, Edinburgh Rugby announce the signing of winger Otulea Katoa on a 1-year deal.
The Tongan international, who arrived in the capital earlier this week with his wife and 1-year-old son Eli, will bulk up the backs with a number of players involved with Scotland throughout the year.
The 24-year-old, who has been capped 7 times by Tonga, most recently represented his country in July’s Pacific Nations Cup and has been signed from New Zealand provincial side, Southland.
Edinburgh welcome fullback Greig Tonks back into their side for tonight’s European Challenge Cup final against Gloucester.
He is 1 of 2 changes made by head coach Alan Solomons, who also brings Cornell Du Preez in at eighthman.
Greig Laidlaw, who was 1 of a number of players rested for Gloucester’s Premiership fixture against Newcastle, returns to face his former club.
Billy Twelvetrees captains the Cherry and Whites, while Richard Hibbard and James Hook also come back in.
Edinburgh Rugby’s players are in open revolt against their managing director, David Davies, after he sacked the long-serving team manager. Lynsey Dingwall was a popular and efficient member of the backroom staff at Edinburgh Rugby yet she was given an hour to clear her desk after working at the club for 14 years.
The players sent an email to the board and the council of the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) which Scotland on Sunday has seen. In the missive, sent on 23 March, the players offer their full support to Dingwall.
“We feel the dismissal of Lynsey Dingwall was unfair and unjustified,” the e-mail reads. “Lynsey was part of Edinburgh Rugby for 14 years. Over that period she worked tirelessly with and for the players and was hugely respected within the organisation. Numerous past coaches and players have commented that she was the best team manager that they have ever worked with. We feel she has been the victim of a personal attack.”
Edinburgh confirmed on Tuesday that due to personal reasons Omar Mouneimne has had to leave the Pro12 outfit to return to South Africa.
“We are sorry that Omar has had to return to South Africa to deal with some personal issues,” Edinburgh coaching boss Alan Solomons said.
Edinburgh Rugby are delighted to announce the signing of 22-year-old Scotland stand-off Tom Heathcote, from Bath Rugby, on a one-year deal to 2015.
Born in Inverness, Heathcote won his first cap for the nation as a replacement in the 2012 EMC Test against Tonga at Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen.
He was selected in Scotland’s 2013 RBS 6 Nations squad and subsequently started at stand-off for Scotland A, kicking eight points in the 13-9 win over England Saxons, the side’s first win on English soil.
He then went on to make two starts for Scotland in the 2013 summer quadrangular tournament against Samoa and Italy, and is considered one of the brightest young contenders for the national number 10 jersey.