Scottish Rugby today announced a trio of Tennent’s Premiership Head Coaches as the Scotland Club XV coaching team for the forthcoming season.
Melrose Head Coach Rob Chrystie will continue to lead the domestic select and is joined by former Club XV Head Coach Phil Smith (Heriot’s) and newly-appointed Fin Gillies (Glasgow Hawks) – who replaces Glen Tippett – as his assistants.
Chrystie, said: “It’s great to confirm a strong and exciting coaching team for this season’s Club XV.
“Fin is a young coach but brings three-year’s Head Coach experience at Hawks on top of his exposure to the pro game for Glasgow Warriors and Scotland 7s, and as a former Club XV player.
“He will create a nice balance to what we’re trying to do, alongside the experienced head of Phil [Smith], who’s been around the programme for five or six years.
“The challenging thing with any national programme is the limited time you have with the players, so the key is to be really well organised, so the players have clear pictures of what’s expected of them and what we’re trying to achieve.
“The Club XV has to be a special environment and it has to be a step up from what the players are used to or have had in the past.
“Many have come through the Scotland age-grade programme, so they expect good delivery with clarity, which I believe this coaching team will be able to provide.”
Scotland Club XV will convene for a series of training camps in December and January in preparation for home and away fixtures against their Irish counterparts for the Dalriada Cup, won over the two legs back in March 2018 at Netherdale.
Former hooker Gillies, who represented Scotland Club XV in the 2010/11 season was delighted to continue his association with the side.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” said Gillies.
“It’s something I have an affinity with and really enjoyed as a player, so appreciate it and what it means to those selected.
“When I played there was experienced, older guys like John Dalziel involved and it was great for me as a young player to come in to that set-up and experience that higher level of rugby. To be involved as a coach at 29 is just as exciting.
“There’s plenty of experience in Rob [Chrystie] and Phil [Smith] so I’m looking forward to learning and trying absorb as much information from them as much as possible, bring my experience to the role and to work with a talented group of players.”
Sean Lineen, Scottish Rugby’s Head of Academies and national age-grade teams said, “This is a great chance for three top Scottish coaches to get the opportunity to work with these talented club players.”