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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs on Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:09 am

Melrose have announced the departure of Head Coach Craig 'Chick' Chalmers for next season on. Does this mean that Chick is off to greater things in the pro scene? Should Edinburgh fans start to get mildly excited? Watch this space ...

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs on Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:33 am

Have just found the full official press release and sorry to have to disappoint Embra fans (you're still stuck with Bradley), Chick is moving to London - no more details yet

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:43 am

AsLongAsBut100ofUs wrote:Have just found the full official press release and sorry to have to disappoint Embra fans (you're still stuck with Bradley), Chick is moving to London - no more details yet

<sigh> .... Crying or Very sad

If the Blazer Brigade at the SRU have forced the guy down south it isn't as far as another nail in the coffin for Scottish rugby but we are considering turining off the life support machine...
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Post by ScarletSpiderman on Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:52 am

AsLongAsBut100ofUs wrote:Have just found the full official press release and sorry to have to disappoint Embra fans (you're still stuck with Bradley), Chick is moving to London - no more details yet

Learning outside of Scotland at London Scottish before coming back with a few new and different ideas?
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Post by red_stag on Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:56 am

His wife is from London I beleive and being coach of Melrose won't pay enough bills.
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Post by NeilyBroon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:45 am

http://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby/top-rugby-stories/craig-chalmers-to-quit-scotland-and-move-south-1-2777712

I wondered how long that'd take. It's a shame really, if the SRU got him to coach Edinburgh I'm sure they'd be a lot more successful.

They definitely need to rethink their coaching structure.
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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:47 am

Unfortunately those with the money get the best.

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Post by George Carlin on Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:24 am

Chickadee is going to coach Chinnor RFC in Oxfordshire and it's worth setting out his monumental whinge which he was allowed in the Herald today Broken Record:

"Almost 20 years ago, my old coach Jim Telfer also resigned from the same post, having just been appointed as the Scottish Rugby Union's first director of rugby. At that time, rugby was still – officially at least – an amateur sport, so Jim declared that his primary focus would be on developing coaches. He and Ian McGeechan were already legends in the Scottish game, and he wanted other Scots to be able to follow in their footsteps.

Two decades on, that mission statement has a hollow and ironic ring. The national team that was led so brilliantly led by Telfer and McGeechan is now being run by an Australian, who took over the job from an Englishman. Gregor Townsend is running the show at Glasgow, but Edinburgh's head coach is Michael Bradley, an Irishman. Meanwhile, an entire generation of talented and hard-working Scottish coaches has been overlooked.

To clarify, and for the avoidance of any doubt, there are strong personal reasons behind my move to England. Even without those, however, it has long been clear that the noblest prospect for any ambitious Scottish coach is, in the words of Johnson (Samuel, not Scott), the road south.

I shall be following that path to become head coach at Chinnor RFC in Oxfordshire in a few months' time. Because, frankly, opportunities for home-grown coaches north of the border have been virtually non-existent in recent years.

After a few seasons playing club rugby in England, I moved back to Scotland a little over eight years ago. For my first season back home, I was player/coach at Melrose but I hung up my boots soon afterwards because I wanted to concentrate on the coaching side of things. That was where I saw my career in rugby heading.

But instead of a smooth trajectory upwards, gathering experience as I went along, I just ran into one brick wall after another. For a time, the SRU seemed hell-bent on appointing coaches from every part of the world but their own. Little by little, their coach education programmes have improved, but the openings for good coaches have not.

I'm not alone in this. Kenny Murray at Ayr, Ally Donaldson at Currie, Ian Rankin at Dundee – the list goes on – have all hit the glass ceiling, thwarted in their ambition to go to a level above while the SRU have drafted in coaches from all around the world. This is not a criticism of overseas coaches, professionally or personally, but Scots who have grown up in the Scottish game have a lot to offer as well. They're just not getting the chance to do it.

I've probably fared better than most. I had spells with the Scotland under-20 team and with the A team as well. With the under-20s, we had a great set-up for a while, and we won three of our Six Nations games, For the coaching team – which also included Peter, Eamon John and Gary Mercer – it should have been a springboard. Instead it was just another dead end.

That under-20s side had a host of players who went on to become full Scotland internationals: Matt Scott, Duncan Weir, Dave Denton and Rob Harley to name just a few. But more frustrating still was what happened with the A team last year.

I was backs coach of the A side that beat England 35-0 last February, one of the most remarkable results in recent Scottish rugby history. Ten of those players have since won full Scotland caps. But it was just another roadblock on the coaching front. Subsequently, I was sent on a study mission to watch sides in Australia, but nothing came even of that. I tried to get in touch with Mark Dodson, the SRU's chief executive, for an explanation. I'm still waiting to hear back from him.

I know I've ruffled a few feathers at Murrayfield down the years. I've also done a few things away from rugby that I regret. But there is a powerful feeling around the game in Scotland today that the governing body is only interested in yes men. I've been vilified within the corridors of power simply for speaking in my mind.

That can't be healthy. A sport that is going to thrive needs people who question its orthodoxies, who take a contrary view, who challenge the status quo. The best coaching teams – and I'm proud to say I've been part of some pretty good ones – all have that creative tension. There's no harm in the odd argument, but the SRU seems scared of the dissenting voice. They should encourage a culture in which people can fall out, but still fall back in again.

I'm still passionate about Scottish rugby, and it's comforting to know that I am passing the reins at Melrose into the very capable hands of John Dalziel. My own sons are promising players, and I'm happy that there are pathways in place that will allow them to follow their dreams. But for coaches, those routes all seem to be blocked. And Scottish rugby will be held back until those obstacles are cleared."

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Post by red_stag on Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:30 am

I think its a good article and a point that needed to be made.

Hardly a whinge. Scotland has missed out on a very committed and very talented coach.
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Post by Bathman_in_London on Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:40 am

I think he has a point. It does seem that if you have a southern hemisphere accent, you are immediately a level above local coaches. How are local coaches going to improve if they aren't given a chance?

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Post by George Carlin on Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:34 am

It's not a whinge so much as a self-serving piece Staggy.

When Robinson went, Chick pimped himself out to every media outlet who would listen to explain why he should get the job.

There is actually nothing to suggest he is a particularly amazing coach - Kenny Murray at my old club Ayr has done much more with much less.
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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs on Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:45 am

GC, not sure I'd agree with your last comment. Both Murray and Chalmers have done very well - you just need to look at the respective trophy cabinets of both Ayr and Melrose in recent years. Chalmers' Melrose teams have been raided by the pro-districts (particularly Glasgow) over the last several years, so their achievements are pretty even in my view.

I think Chick's remarks are actually spot on, and highlight a serious problem within the game - and things are only getting worse imho

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Post by red_stag on Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:51 am

Agree with Asbo.
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Post by George Carlin on Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:55 am

I'm inevitably biased I guess, Asbo.

I think it's more a problem of the SRU wanting to satisfy their critics by appointing marquee foreign coaches with proven track records or at the least some experience that can be pointed to. What I do agree with is that it should be enough for coaches to have achieved success with the club game in Scotland to make the step up.

For the sake of balance, Chalmers had every right to express his horror when Scotland's plum franchise coaching job was just handed to Townsend by the SRU, Toonie having accomplished precisely no success whatsoever in any coaching job up till that point.

Another way to look at it is that Chick was naïve in not playing the political game better. It's the same in any job. The can of worms only opens from the inside.
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Post by red_stag on Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:00 pm

Looks to me that he's playing his hand well.

Scottish rugby teams are having a poor time of it. The national team is doing badly.

He's talking about how dedicated Scottish coaches are being refused and has walked away.

I think he's played it as well as he can.
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Post by ScarletSpiderman on Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:07 pm

red_stag wrote:Looks to me that he's playing his hand well.

Scottish rugby teams are having a poor time of it. The national team is doing badly.

He's talking about how dedicated Scottish coaches are being refused and has walked away.

I think he's played it as well as he can.

I don't know it does kind of smack of someone begging to be asked to stay.
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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:35 pm

Bathman_in_London wrote:I think he has a point. It does seem that if you have a southern hemisphere accent, you are immediately a level above local coaches.

It used to be the same with players, didn't it - the assumption that a player from the southern hemishpere must necessarily be a better player than his domestic equivalents.

I have to say, if that article wasn't ghost-written, then Craig Chalmers is a fine writer.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:22 pm

This move makes sense for him. Get some experience coaching rugby in a professional environment and build a reputation away from the Scottish game. The SRU hate him and whilst his background is in amateur rugby they'll always have an excuse to ignore him.

I hope he makes a success of the move and I for one would like to see him back at some stage. He's an uncompromising character and we've had all too few of those involved in Scottish rugby in recent times.

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Post by RDW on Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:27 pm

Who the hell are Chinnor RFC??? Is that really a step up from anything he's done so far? Or is it just a case of anywhere but Scotland?

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Post by RDW on Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:28 pm

Merged two duplicate threads together.

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Post by George Carlin on Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:33 pm

Call yourself a rugby fan, RDW?

How can you not know the team that is currently propping up the middle of the RFU National - SSE National League 2 South?

It's not just anyone who can win the Oxfordshire Cup three years running, you know.
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Post by RDW on Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:34 pm

It is seriously that low down? How is that going to progress his pro coaching career??

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:39 pm

I've got mixed views on this. I really want to see Scots coaches getting chances and proving themselves, but at the same time I want the best people possible to be in charge of the pro sides and Scotland.

Forming a policy here is very difficult, and I think you need to take each application on its merits.

Some of the recent hires however, Taylor, Back et al, haven't exactly worked out well, so it does leave you wondering whether the Scots lads could have done better.

England took a punt on Lancaster and it looks to be a masterstroke. I'd never have done that so perhaps my thinking on this is flawed.

I do have sympathy for Chalmers and the other Scots coaches on reading that article, and we do need to strengthen the ties between the clubs and the pro sides, and show that there's a natural progression and opportunity there. Perhaps not to jump straight to the top job, but certainly to be involved in coaching at pro or international level.

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Post by red_stag on Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:40 pm

Chinnor's youth setup is widely thought of as one of the best in the country having produced top Premiership players such as Tom Varndell (Leicester Tigers), Dave Seymour (Saracens) and Paul Volley (Harlequins). Chinnor became the first club in Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire to establish an Under 19 Academy.

The club gained promotion to the National Leagues in 2006 and became the youngest club ever to do so. Chinnor gained a further promotion from National League 3 South West in 2012.

They now compete in National League 2
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Post by RDW on Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:41 pm

Shows the difference in resources between England in the rest if a National 2 side can have an academy yet our pro teams barely have one!

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Post by red_stag on Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:43 pm

Not 100% sure but I think Nat League 2 is a 4th tier competition.
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Post by Bathman_in_London on Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:08 pm

Yep 4th tier, Premiership, Championship, league 1 and then league 2 splits into north and south. I think thats how it works anyway.

Quite a big name for Chinnor, I wonder if its just until the end of the season and then he has something lined up afterwards?

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs on Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:11 pm

It could certainly be viewed as a step down in level and I know it will be a big wrench for Chick to leave his beloved 'Rose, but it sounds like there are some personal reasons behind this move as well as career ones OK

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Post by RDW on Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:16 pm

Out of interest, I wonder how much these guys get paid by the clubs in Scotland - surely can't be very much?

Ian Rankin is full time director of rugby at Dundee - how is that a full time role when the players are all amature and how can they afford to pay him a fulltime salary?

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:54 pm

Gate receipts? Bar/burger van profits etc.? Donations? Sponsors?

I'm guessing. I suspect he earns in a year what Wayne Rooney earns in 10 minutes.

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