New Hawick coach wants expansive rugby and players to express themselves

Matty Douglas back in his playing days for HawickMatty Douglas back in his playing days for Hawick
Matty Douglas back in his playing days for Hawick
Hawick Rugby Club’s new head coach, Matty Douglas, hopes his players will express themselves to the best of their ability and take a pride in playing good, creative rugby.

The 26-year-old former Mansfield Park player was appointed to the role last week after Stuart Johnson announced he was stepping down.

Johnson, a former head coach at Melrose, came to Hawick in April last year and worked with the squad through the uncertainties of the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.

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However, he has decided to move on because of increasing work and family commitments.

Douglas, named backs coach 15 months ago, is moving up as the squad approaches the opening two Kings of the Sevens events next month – the second of which is Hawick’s own – and then the start of the Tennent’s Premiership campaign in September.

“It will be a big challenge but it’s something I am keen to get involved in and take it from there,” he said.

While Covid-19 remains a threat in the background, it looks as if the way is clear towards a resumption of competitive rugby, so the club is working very much towards that.

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“It has been a struggle over the past 18 months keeping boys involved,” said Douglas. “The hard thing is to get them interested again after so much time off but I think we are on the final stretch now.

“I just have to keep implementing, as a coach, what we want out of the club and out of the players themselves.

“I can’t have them under-prepared and missing anything. We just need to go for it and keep them ticking over.”

Douglas’ past links with the Robbie Dyes and his ambitions for the future are fuelling his aims for the club as much as anything. He turned out at fly-half for the Greens before a hip injury finished his playing career in 2017.

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“Having played at Hawick and come through the junior stuff, it’s a club that means a lot to me and I just want success,” he said.

“I want the boys to play for the jersey more than anything else. Maybe in the past, the attitude hasn’t been the best but I am looking forward to playing Hawick boys and bringing a style of rugby in which they can express themselves. That is what I have tried to get across to them.

“I want them just to play what's in front and just to enjoy themselves, while feeling no pressure from me.

“I will give them the tools and the stuff to go for but, at the end of the day, it’s up to them.

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“I just want them to play a good, expansive game of rugby and express themselves in every way possible.”

Douglas said he took his hat off to the players for working so hard and keeping involved amid the uncertainty of the last year or so.

Some players had been lost to retirement and the Super6 set-up but Hawick had retained a good core squad, he added.

Hawick’s director of rugby, Garry Douglas, said he looked forward to seeing the team back playing and enjoying their rugby.

"The physicality and the social aspect of it has been majorly missing,” he added.

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