Collins faces Big problems at start of Hartreemill reign

New head coach to lose three key players

NEW Biggar Rugby Club head coach Aaron Collins has been rocked by the imminent loss of key first team players Graeme Fisken, Andrew Dunlop and Logan Kirisome.

All three are moving to other clubs, which means Collins - due to arrive in Scotland on Friday after a spell caring for his sick father in his native New Zealand - faces a significant rebuilding job.

Biggar joint team manager John Lawrie said he was gutted to lose promising back row/ second row man Fisken, outstanding number eight Dunlop and giant 16 stone Samoan centre Kirisome.

Symington 20-year-old Fisken and Biggar native Dunlop (23) were particularly gut-wrenching departures, as both had come through the club's renowned youth policy.

''I'm definitely unhappy when we lose players who have come through the youth set-up,'' Lawrie said.

''Graeme has intimated that he will be playing for West of Scotland next season, which is a bitter blow.

''It is devastating to lose Graeme after just one season in the first team. It is a slap in the face and very disappointing.

''Andrew has intimated he wants to play at Ayr next season to get Premier 1 rugby and help get a professional contract.

''He is a really good player who was in the Glasgow squad last season. Hawks and Heriots both tried to sign him last season but Gary (Biggar's former head coach Parker) persuaded him to stay.

''Andrew has been a good player at Biggar for years and we wish him all the best.''

And the loss of pacy 25-year-old Kirisome after around three seasons at Hartreemill has also weakened the Biggar squad.

''Logan was just coming back to his best after a major knee operation,'' Lawrie added.

''He's hoping to be signed by Coventry.

''Logan is a really powerful guy who was one of the fastest 100m runners at the club.''

Final confirmation of Collins' appointment as head coach was delayed for several days before it was finally announced at Wednesday night's AGM.

Biggar bosses had been trying to contact Collins via email in New Zealand - where he was caring for his seriously ill father.

''I'm pleased Aaron's appointment has finally been sorted,'' Lawrie added.

''He'll definitely need to strengthen us by signing new players.''

Better news for Biggar followers is that Eady Manawaiti - the club's player/ forwards coach - is staying at Hartreemill. And there will also be a role at the club for Derek 'Deek' Armstrong - who resigned as head coach last month after saving Biggar from relegation to Premier 3.

''Eady will be back as a player,'' Lawrie added.

''His coaching input will be decided by Aaron Collins.

''And Aaron will also decide if he wants to work with Deek.

''If Aaron wants Deek involved with the firsts then that would be great, as he has a lot to offer.''

The confirmation of Collins' appointment as Biggar head coach was just one of the key announcements made at Wednesday night's AGM, which was attended by around 50 club members.

It was revealed that Airtricity will stay on board for their fourth year as main club sponsor, and that a substantial donation will be made to Biggar RFC funds by a club member. See page 15 for more details.