John Dalziel has been a one-man wrecking ball for the Melrose cause for so many years that he admits it will feel strange to be restricted to the sidelines. Yet, if the veteran forward has, as he says, "retired gracefully", it is likely he will be the sort of head coach who is forever prowling the touchline, in pursuit of perfection, as he strives to maintain the Borders club's success in the post-Craig Chalmers era.
The same kind of cut-throat environment that exists in professional football is developing in modern rugby, so Dalziel recognises he must galvanise and reinvigorate his Greenyards charges following one of their most lacklustre campaigns of recent times.
Such is his approach to tackling challenges, and indeed opponents, there is no reason why he can't blaze as similarly illustrious a trail as some of his predecessors, including Jim Telfer, Rob Moffat and Chalmers.
Dalziel has been involved in coaching since 2007 and knows his players inside out. He is also as ambitious as he is articulate. "After back-to-back title wins we feel last year was a bit of an underachievement," he said. "We have a new coaching team and a new squad, with lots of fresh, bold ideas.
"We believe we are at the beginning of a new cycle and our goal is to build a competitive squad and create a strong team ethos, which will mean we are up there competing for honours at the top of the Premiership."
He seems to have recruited well. Fraser Thomson has returned after a year with Glasgow Warriors and will be captain. Melrose have also attracted Damian Hoyland, formerly of Boroughmuir, who has blistering pace and power; Austin Lockington, who has joined from the Western Province Rugby Institute and is officially an "Emerging Bok"; James Head, a lock from Hartpury College in Gloucester; and Todd Pearce, a hooker from Eastwoods in Sydney.
They also have Nick Beavon back in contention, after the prop missed a full season with injury, and eight teenagers are moving up from the under-18 conveyor belt of potential.
It is, then, scarcely surprising that Dalziel, while harbouring respect for his main rivals, doesn't fear any of them. "As always, Ayr look to have added more quality to a strong squad and will again be very hard to beat. Gala, Stirling County and Heriot's [who visit Melrose for today's curtain-raiser] look to have recruited very well and will all be right up there, along with Currie," he said. "The Premiership has just had its most competitive season and absolutely nobody can be underestimated."
Dalziel is methodical, a master motivator and a man who has served under giants. Expect a Melrose renaissance in the months ahead.
Premiership contenders had better beware the Young generation emerging at Bridgehaugh. In the past, there used to a Wimbledon FC-style siege mentality at the club - "No-one likes us we don't care" - but that has been replaced with a desire to reach into the community, nurture the sport at every age group and encourage both men and women to embrace the oval ball.
The first XV coach, Graeme Young, has been one of the most willing participants in spreading the gospel and his side's results speak for themselves. It isn't so long ago that County were languishing outwith the top flight, but they demonstrated their improvement by finishing third last winter,.
They set off on a winning roll after Christmas, during which they claimed several scalps, and impressed opponents with their attacking philosophy on their way to claiming a place in the British & Irish Cup.
Young, an affable Australian, has been one of the main reasons for the upsurge, but he acknowledges his side will be tested to the max today when they host Ayr, the defending champions.
"This is as tough as it gets because they are a big, strong, physical team," Young said. "If we want to beat them, we have to match up to that physicality, otherwise it could be long afternoon.
"One positive is that our players have grown in confidence during 2013 and we have boosted the squad, so I genuinely believe there is plenty of competition for places in most areas. We have secured the services of Will Bordill and Ally Price [Glasgow Warriors elite development players] and we have also brought in the former Scotland Under-20 [and Boroughmuir] forward Jamie Swanson, and two lads from Falkirk, Kris Burney and Matt Larsen.
"The latter was a New Zealand age-group player, so we know he has lots of talent, but, just as importantly, a number of our Under-18 [Scottish] title-winning squad have made the step up, including Archie Russell, Stuart Govan and Angus Leishman."
Young has no illusions about the gruelling fixture schedule which faces Stirling in the months ahead, in the Premiership and the B&I Cup. A year ago, they began the campaign well, but their lack of resources was exposed by a casualty ward's worth of injuries just a month into the proceedings. It was a blow, but Young is confident history will not repeat itself on this occasion.
"Our problems allowed us to throw some youngsters into the first XV, which was big step up, but the experience showed them what they had to aspire to, and they have risen to the challenge," Young said. "I still believe Ayr have set the benchmark which the rest of us have to follow, but this is as good a chance as any to see where we are."
It is more than that. Many of the Premiership's leading figures have tipped County to mount a sustained title bid for glory and they can lay down a marker in front of their own supporters today.