New Zealander is offered head coach job at Hartreemill
NEW Zealander Aaron Collins, a former Harlequins player, has been offered the chance to become the first foreign head coach in the 32-year history of Biggar Rugby Club.
Collins (38), is all set to take over at Hartreemill after his amazing coaching exploits last season at Biggar's Premier 2 rivals Hillhead-Jordanhill.
Hillhead looked a certainty to be relegated at one stage, but an amazing late rally - inspired by the new players Collins signed around Christmas time - was enough to preserve their Premier 2 status.
Collins is still to be officially unveiled as Biggar head coach, but he has been offered the job by email and his acceptance of the post is only a formality.
The delay in an official announcement has been caused by the fact that this week Collins was reportedly thousands of miles away in New Zealand looking after his sick father.
Under Collins, Hillhead finished the last campaign with 41 points from their 22 league fixtures. This left them two places above a Biggar outfit which only avoided relegation themselves on points differential over Gala.
The new Hartreemill boss will be anxious to ensure that the 2007/08 season sees no repeat of that nail-biting finish, which had every Biggar player and supporter biting his or her fingernails. The club's Premier 2 survival was only confirmed when Gala missed a penalty in the very last minute of the season!
Collins' imminent appointment has been welcomed by Biggar joint team manager John Lawrie, who hopes the New Zealander's influence will propel the team into a much higher league position next season.
''It is a big step for us appointing an overseas coach but Aaron comes across very well,'' Lawrie said.
''He has a bit to prove and it would be good if he could get Biggar challenging at the top of the table.
''Escaping relegation by the skin of our teeth is no use to Biggar.
''I will be annoyed if we are far outside the top six of the league next season.
''We are spending everything we earn to try and keep the club at a level where it would be far more acceptable to finish in the top six than down at the other end.''
Lawrie said the club's youth policy will have to continuing rearing outstanding players if Biggar are to make an impact in the upper echelons of the Scottish game.
''Biggar Rugby Club has some youth structure,'' he added. ''Next year we will have 30 players available to play at under-18 level.''