WEST of Scotland Rugby Football Club players have a new head coach putting them through their paces as they prepare for the new season.
Ewan Smith has taken over at the helm to fill the position left by outgoing coach Keith Robertson.
The 35-year-old policeman, originally from the Stirling area, is no stranger to West having played at the club in the early 1990s as a stand-off and centre, and laterly holding the post of club captain.
Following a stint at Glasgow Accies from 2010-12, Smith was enticed back to West after being approached by the committee.
The father of one said he hopes to build the team up again and use the talent already at the club.
Smith, a Strathclyde University sport in the community graduate, said: “It’s unfortunate that when Keith took over it coincided with a lot of players moving on, either to university, family commitments or just moving away.”
Now living on Glasgow’s southside, Smith said at the moment his police job is a day job and said he would be able to fit in the coaching around his work. He will be helped at West by assistant coach Marc Pope.
He added: “It is nice to be back. I am more than happy with the players I have. It will be a year of consolidating the players we have, but there is no doubt it is going to be a tough season with a lot of challenges ahead.”
One of these challenges is for West to work its way back up the league following last year’s Premier 2 league split into two regions - Championship A for clubs in the west of Scotland and Championship B for those in the east.
Despite what he sees as a relegation to the regional league, Smith is optimistic about the future.
He added: “I have my thoughts and if we retain the same players, there is no reason why we can’t be at the top of the table next year.”
In last Saturday’s pre-season friendly West made a good start with a convincing 45-15 away to Kirkcaldy. Tomorrow they have another friendly against Marr at Burnbrae.
This is followed by another friendly on Tuesday (August 14) against old rivals Glasgow Hawks.
The league officially starts with an away game to Falkirk on August 25.
The first home game is on September 1 against Whitecraigs.