Edinburgh Rugby are understandably delighted to have Alan Solomons as their new head coach, but Tank Lanning wonders if a little more could have been done to keep him in SA?
The timing of the announcement could not have come at a worse time for the Kings, although some are suggesting that the loss of Director of Rugby Alan Solomons might well galvanise the players ahead of their promotion / relegation match against the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Given the injury to flyhalf Demetri Katrakilis, and the loss in PE last Friday, I think that Eastern Cape Super Rugby horse has bolted … So I can understand Solomons wanting to move.
But did it have to be back overseas? In interviews yesterday, Solomons alluded to the fact that he “Was going home to Europe” and that his move to PE has been “Hard on his wife” so perhaps it was out of SARU’s control, but it does see one of the smartest coaching brains in the land departing our shores.
Take a read of the announcement of his move to Edinburgh on the The Scotland website to get an idea of what the man has achieved:
“The former South Africa assistant coach, who has steered the Barbarians to wins over five top tier nations (England, Scotland, Wales, South Africa and New Zealand) and led clubs to silverware in both the northern and southern hemisphere, will check into Murrayfield on Friday 9 August.
He will be joined by Stevie Scott, whose work as interim head coach has been rewarded with a full-time assistant (forwards) role.
Edinburgh Rugby managing director, David Davies, said: “I’m delighted to confirm the appointment of such experienced, respected and passionate coaches.
“In addition to attracting the undeniable quality in Alan Solomons, I’m very pleased to retain the services of Stevie Scott, who’s work on and off the field in pre-season has been exceptional.
“I’m confident they will provide the foundations for our long-term objective of becoming a force on the domestic and European stage.”
Solomons was assistant coach during the Springbok’s record run of 17 victories, which included an unbeaten Tri Nations success in 1998 and record wins over Scotland (68-19), France (51-10) and Wales (96-13).
It was during this time that he coached the Western Province to successive Currie Cup Premier division finals (1997 and 1998), winning the trophy in 1997, and took the Stormers to the Super 12 semi-final in 1999, before beginning an impressive three-year term at Ulster in 2001.
The Irishmen reached the knockout rounds of the Celtic League every year Solomons was at the helm, twice made the Celtic Cup final (lifting the trophy in 2003) and enjoyed a three-year unbeaten home record in the Heineken Cup, which lifted the club’s European ranking from 37th to 10th.
He was employed as a high performance consultant for the IRB from 2007 to 2011 before taking the Eastern Province to three successive Currie Cup division one finals (winning the Cup in 2010 and 2012) and lifting the IRB Nations Cup under the guise of shadow international side, the South Africa Kings.
He was then appointed director rugby of the Southern Kings for their maiden Super Rugby season, charged with turning the amateur union into a Super Rugby side, before securing his move to Murrayfield.
Solomons said: “This is a very exciting role at a club which has a huge amount of potential.
“The ambition and desire of everyone involved with the club to do whatever it takes to build its success, and the plans being put in place to achieve that, are very impressive.
“I’m very much looking forward to arriving in Edinburgh, teaming up with Stevie [Scott] and meeting the challenges head on.”
Forwards coach, Stevie Scott, added: “I’m delighted to extend my term with the Edinburgh Rugby, a team which I have a long association with and a huge amount of passion for.
“I’m looking forward to building on the work done since the tail end of last season with a highly experienced coach.
“We’ll put everything into getting this club back into a position we can all be proud of.”
Scottish Rugby director of rugby, Scott Johnson, said: “We have conducted a global search through scores of candidates who have shown a great deal of enthusiasm for helping us realise the potential in Edinburgh Rugby.
“This pair offer an excellent balance of experience, passion and success, as well as in-depth knowledge of the local and international rugby scenes, something which we are look forward seeing put to the test at Murrayfield.”
Scottish Rugby chief executive, Mark Dodson, added: “We’re delighted to have secured the services of such an experienced and talented coach for the top job at Edinburgh Rugby.
“Alan is an exceptional character and coach and one we believe will help steer Edinburgh Rugby towards our strategic objective of consistently reaching the RaboDirect play-offs and the knockout rounds of the Heineken Cup.””