Grangemouth Stags see new coaching set-up as a step forward

Grangemouth Stags have announced a new coaching set-up ahead of their upcoming Tennent’s Caledonia Region League Division 1 campaign, saying they’re aiming to pull together in one direction.

By Ben Kearney
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 6:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th June 2022, 6:52 pm

The first XV will be led by Mzwandile Mncube, alongside Geoff Caldwell, Kevin Hope and Ian Ralston.

Stevie Binnie will lead the seconds, supported by club vice-president Gordon Crossan, Ronnie Innes, Niall Chisholm and Jodie Howland.

The women’s side will be led by Allan Douglas alongside Jennifer Cram, Mike Parsons and Elaine Acheson.

Grangemouth Stags announced their new coaching team: Ian Ralston, 1st xv Team Manager; Gordon Crossan, Vice President/assistant 2nd xv coach; Elaine Acheson, Director of Ladies Rugby; Allan Douglas, Head Coach - Ladies Rugby; Mzwandile Mncube, Head Coach - Men's Rugby; Geoff Caldwell, Assistant Coach - 1st xv; Stevie Binnie, Head Coach 2nd XV; Jennifer Cram, Assistant Coach - Ladies Rugby; Ron Taylor, Vice President and Ronnie Innes, Assistant 2nd xv coach (Photo: Michael Gillen)

Stags have outlined their commitment to youth throughout the club, with Innes saying it feels like everyone is going in one direction.

“Our job is to support the first team to help bring through younger players in a way that gets them involved as soon as possible,” he said.

“We want them to learn the core skills and get them moving on up.

“It has been lacking for a good wee while now, to be honest, but now we have some great things going, the Kelpies set-up for example.

“In conjunction with Falkirk, Bannockburn and Hillfoots, we are ensuring the opportunity is there to play rugby.

“Our under-18 boys are now at age grade to come up and play in the seconds. Bringing them on and nurturing them is the goal for us.

“We’re all really trying to move in the one direction and we want to be really clear about giving youth a chance.

“Everyone is wanting to take the club to the next level.”

The women’s side are also hoping to create a better pathway for younger players, with the recent news of the Scottish Rugby Union committing to 30 professional contracts with increased funding a boost, according to head coach Douglas.

“We want to try and bring more players into the club first and foremost,” he explained.

“We get girls from the Kelpies coming through but a lot of time they move on due to things like university. You are lucky if you get two or three a year that actually stay on with the team.

“Our goal is to try to and bring local players into the club and keep them here until they move on to bigger and better things within rugby.

“We want to have a pathway in place and the new set-up across the club will do that.

“To be honest, I think the SRU has been behind the rest of the nations for a long time, but this is a step forward.

“Even at our level, it makes an impact if girls can see a true pathway to the top.

“Grass-roots rugby cannot be overlooked for making that happen and we are a great example as the local women’s side.

“With the way we are set up for the upcoming season, I think we will be able to give these girls the best shot possible of becoming better rugby players.”

The season kicks off on Saturday, August 27, with the first XV hosting Caithness in round one of the sport’s national shield.

The seconds start against Dunfermline in Tennent’s Caledonia League Three on Saturday, September 3, and the women’s side take on Corstorphine’s seconds a day later in their Midlands League One.