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Getting a head start: Jericevich is coaching at just 24

For most players, caps at Scotland 7s and club international levels, as well as a domestic league and cup double, would amount to a dream career.

Peter Jericevich concedes that his future is in coaching
Peter Jericevich concedes that his future is in coaching

For Peter Jericevich, though, all those successes only convinced him to switch his focus from playing to coaching at the comparatively tender age of 24.

The scrum-half has taken on the role of player/coach at GHA, having played his last game for Ayr in Saturday's win against Hawick.

"As a player, I have become very frustrated," said the former head coach of Glasgow University.

"I was named as 24th man in Glasgow Warriors' Heineken Cup squad a couple of times and made it to one tournament with the Scotland 7s, but I never really got the chance to progress.

"I feel I deserved more of a chance to make it as a professional but, in Scottish rugby, it is hard to make that final step. I don't want to think about what could have been playing-wise, I can't afford to waste my time. My career lies in coaching, and I don't want to wait till I am 35 to do that. I want to start climbing the ladder towards becoming a coach in the professional game."

The move is part of a major shake-up at GHA, after finishing the National League season on an particularly low note, with a 76-5 loss to champions Boroughmuir.

Gordon Macpherson, the current head coach, is to step down and will be replaced by a new, younger coaching team headed by Craig Sorbie, the 29-year-old the former Watsonians and GHA utility back, who will take up his first head coaching role. Andy Henderson, the club captain who was capped 53 times by Scotland, will also add coaching duties to his playing role.

Paul Tyler, a former head coach at the club, will remain in charge of the academy. The club has also applied for a sportscotland grant - still under consideration - which would enable the club to invest further in the youth set-up.

It is all part of the vision of Jericevich's brother Rangi, a winger at the club, who is running unopposed for the post of director of rugby at GHA's annual meeting.

"Craig and Peter demonstrated during interview the ambition and drive we were looking for in our new coaches," said Rangi. "They will bring a fresh approach and we liked the fact that they had ambitions to progress as coaches into the professional game. We hope GHA can help them achieve that.

"Both are ex-GHA players who understand the club and its plans. They will help us compete for a promotion spot and for a place back in the Premiership."

As an 18-year-old, Peter began his senior career at the Braidholm side, when they were in Premiership 1 and that is where the Aberdonian has his sights trained. "GHA is a club with a lot of ambition," he said.

"With the academy, they have the right ideas in place while the new under-20s side will help retain players and develop a team which can feed the senior side.

"While young players coming in is important for the long-term future of the club, I hope my track record as a player will attract some quality recruits. The results are not good enough at the moment. There needs to be more competition for places."

Jericevich, who is community development officer with Glasgow, is looking beyond next season's National League campaign. "To be a success, they need to move away from the concept of rugby just being something you do on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday," he said.

"Rugby at the top level is all about conditioning, injury prevention and nutrition: it is a big commitment.

"The SRU released their 2016 initiatives and one of the targets was to make it a semi-professional game, with a top tier of eight teams. It is something GHA want, and need, to be a part of. I hope can help get the club there, prove my credentials."

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