Back favourite to succeed Bradley at Edinburgh
Edinburgh head coach Michael Bradley to leave in the summer after a disappointing run of defeats
Neil Back is favourite to become Edinburgh’s head coach after it was confirmed that Michael Bradley will depart this summer.
Despite yesterday’s announcement confirming the dismissal of Bradley and defence coach Billy McGinty, the Cork native will remain in charge until his contract runs out in May.
McGinty has departed the club with immediate effect, after Saturday’s 30-3 defeat to Munster in Musgrave Park brought their losing streak to eight matches.
Evidently, this was the final straw for the Scottish rugby union.
“Michael and Billy have played a pivotal role in a number of memorable games at Murrayfield,” said Mark Dodson, chief executive of the SRU . “In particular, last year’s journey to the Heineken Cup semi-final in Dublin was a highlight.
“This season’s results, however, have been below the standards expected by the club and its fans and we believe the time is right to begin the search for a fresh coaching team.” In fact, with the exception of beating Toulouse to make the semi-finals of Europe, Edinburgh results have been extremely poor since Bradley took over in 2011.
They finished 11th in the Pro12 League last season, only ahead of the disbanded Aironi, with six wins from 22 games, conceding the most points, 588, in the process.
Matters have hardly improved in the current campaign, losing all six European outings without a single bonus point, while they are currently ninth in the Pro12 with four wins from 14. Only Connacht, the Dragons and Zebre are below them.
The club’s last victory came in Galway on December 1st, beating Connacht 25-24.
With 348 points already conceded, they are on course to repeat their 2011/12 record although Bradley and Back have assumed responsibility for the defence.
“It’s been an honour to be Edinburgh Rugby head coach and I’d like to thank my fellow coaches, management team, players, staff, fans and sponsors for their support these past two years,” said Bradley, in an official release.
“Building a strong club with a clear identity, which has shared ownership from the players, management, fans, sponsors and the community at large is the key driver of all successful teams and, for me, it is critical that this work continues and enables both the club and the team to reach its full potential.
“The undoubted highlight of my two years was the joy on the faces of all connected with Edinburgh Rugby when the final whistle went when we overcame Toulouse in last year’s quarter-final of the Heineken Cup at Murrayfield.
“I am very disappointed by the run of results this season and will put everything into the remainder of the season to help the club build for a brighter future.” The recruitment process to replace Bradley, while only beginning now, has Back in pole position. The 44- year-old’s record as a World Cup winning flanker is well documented but he also worked with the Leicester Tigers Academy before following Stuart Lancaster as Leeds head coach in 2008.
Set to reapply
Eddie O’Sullivan is another expected to reapply for the position he was favourite to get in 2011, only to surprisingly lose out to Bradley.
Bradley, who won 40 caps for Ireland at scrumhalf from 1984 to 1995, previously spent seven years in charge of Connacht (2003-10) before a stint with the Georgian national side.