Two of Scotland's most respected club coaches have called on the Scottish Rugby Union to promote home-bred talent rather than continue to look abroad for coaches and players.
A few days after it was confirmed Michael Bradley, Edinburgh's Irish head coach, will be leaving the capital side at the end of this season, Gala's George Graham and Ian Rankin of Dundee High, both of whom have been full-time coaches, warned that ambitious Scottish players and coaches are growing increasingly frustrated at their lack of opportunity.
While Graham refused to rule himself out as a candidate for the Edinburgh job, he said he had little faith he would be granted a hearing given the apparent reluctance of the SRU to recognise talent on their own doorstep.
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"I've said before that we should promote from within when these chances come along. But the people in charge – Mark Dodson [the SRU chief executive] and others – don't have any confidence in our club coaches," said Graham.
Edinburgh have retained forwards coach Neil Back, whose contract expires at the end of next season, so they are most likely to seek a backs specialist to fill the gap created by Bradley's departure. The obvious domestic candidates are Ayr's Kenny Murray and Currie's Ally Donaldson, but both have been overlooked a number of times already.
After Glasgow's record 60-3 thrashing of Newport Gwent Dragons on Friday, Graham suggested there is no harm in making bold appointments. "They took a huge punt on Gregor Townsend [Glasgow coach], who had never coached a club at professional level, and he's doing a great job. So why can't Ally Donaldson or Kenny Murray do the same?"
Rankin warned that the issue for some club coaches is now at crisis point. "There are quite a few coaches in Prem 1 who are seriously asking if they should continue," he said. "That's a real shame."
He went on to suggest that Bradley should be moved on now rather than be allowed to see out the remainder of his contract: "Having watched Edinburgh [lose to Cardiff Blues] on Friday, I would do what Dundee United have done. I don't really think you can sack the coach, then ask him to see things through to the end of the season."