As he prepared to send on a replacement, Mike Ker, the latter told his coach he had just learned of the death of Iain Brown, at the age of 55, and, in an instant, rugby considerations slipped way down the list of priorities.
Brown, who had been speaking to his Myreside friends only a few hours earlier, was the director of sport at George Watson's College, but mere titles cannot convey the unbridled enthusiasm and commitment which this stalwart fellow brought to any challenge which he tackled.
He had been on the staff for more than 30 years, and was instrumental in the development of a new sports centre at the school, yet it was the nurturing of youngsters and new generations which was his biggest legacy and, as Di Rollo said, he touched the lives - infinitely for the better - of thousands of children.
"I don't think anybody in rugby had a bad word to say about Iain; he was one of the most well-kent faces at the school and was a massive driving force, and none of us could believe the news at first," said Di Rollo, the former Scotland international centre who is striving to steer the Edinburgh men back into the RBS Premiership.
"He was there throughout all my years at the school and he was so dedicated to his job that everybody else was caught up in his positive outlook. He was also involved with Scottish Schools rugby and there isn't a single person who is not the better for what Iain did, wherever he went. He was such a big part of life here that it hasn't really sunk in."
Di Rollo's words were echoed by the former Scotland captain, Jason White, who has joined his former Test colleague in rebuilding Watsonians, alongside Barry Stewart and the irrepressible Allan Jacobsen. While Myreside might be shrouded by a veil of tears at the moment, one also detects a steely determination from the likes of Di Rollo to ensure that the tireless exertions of unsung heroes such as Brown are not squandered.
"We fell off badly last season, when my brother [Ben] was injured, and one or two of the foreign guys wanted to go back home midway through the campaign, so we know that we have to try to keep the momentum going as long as we can," said Di Rollo, whose team have thus far preserved their 100% record, and accumulated 169 points in three matches, to climb to the summit of the Scottish National League.
"I have been helped by the arrival of Jason, Barry and Chunk [Jacobsen], and the latter two have already done a terrific job in improving our scrummaging, which used to be perceived as a weakness. Maybe, as a coach, you start out thinking you can make all the difference on your own, but I now realise the benefits of being part of a collective effort and, while I am not getting ahead of myself, we have to push hard for promotion. We couldn't keep it going 12 months ago. Hopefully, it will be different this time."
Di Rollo is too much of a pragmatist to indulge in grandiose predictions. As he noted, his side have still to confront such opponents as Boroughmuir, Dundee HSFP, Stewart's-Melville and Kelso, and there probably won't be a lot to choose among these proud organisations as the shadows lengthen and winter descends. His decision to arrange a gruelling pre-season of fixtures against Gala, Melrose and Edinburgh Accies, seems to be reaping dividends as Watsonians aspire to a place at the top table again. There could be no finer tribute to Iain Brown!
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Hawick showed that they have no intention of being intimidated on their travels with a hard-fought 34-22 victory against the previously unbeaten Edinburgh Accies at Raeburn Place. The Green Machine had lost both their previous outings after returning to the top flight but managed a bonus-point win, and they were further boosted by an appearance from the bench for their talismanic stand-off, Rory Hutton.
It was almost like the old days for the Border clubs in the latest round of matches, as they inflicted some demoralising defeats, mostly on Glasgow opponents. Melrose and Hawick won in the Premiership, Selkirk hammered GHA 45-10 away from home, and Kelso routed Hillhead-Jordanhill 37-5. Is the south finally recovering its traditional powers? Or was it just a temporary blip for central-belt sides?