Thomson to combine playing with new Gala coaching role

Gala players make their way onto the pitch for the second half. Gala v Ayr

Fraser Thomson will combine playing for Southern Knights in FOSROC Super6 with taking on a coaching role at Gala.

Thomson is well known to the Netherdale club, having started his career there before moving on to a successful spell at Melrose and then taking up a place in the Southern Knights squad for the inaugural Super6 season.

Meanwhile, Bill Noble, a long-serving member of a successful Melrose coaching team, is joining Gala as Director of Rugby. 

Noble, former Gala Academy Head of PE and Health and Wellbeing, brings a wealth of knowledge and ability to personal and rugby development and is tasked with enhancing the integration and development across all levels of rugby in Galashiels, in addition to his focus on the club’s first team.

The club is also pleased to confirm Thomson will work alongside Opeta Palepoi, Euan Dods and John Amos as part of a coaching team with a blend of youth and experience.

Former Samoan internationalist Palepoi has been with Gala for several years as player and coach and is well respected within the local rugby community. He will continue his association with the club within this revised coaching structure.

Dods, the current Gala captain, will take on a formal player/coaching role while Amos will continue to provide individual skills coaching.

Further appointments are due to be announced prior to the start of the 2020/21 season.

“Gala’s revised coaching structure has been put in place with an overarching focus to build and develop rugby throughout the town, as well as drive the success of the first team,” said Noble. 

“This new position will undoubtedly be tough at times, but I’m confident it will also be rewarding. I believe we have a good blend of local coaches, who have strong connections with Gala, and who have a wealth of rugby knowledge between them. We look forward to preparing and working with the players in the squad and meeting any challenges the new season may bring.”

‘Strengthen our position within the club game’

Ian Dalgleish, Gala Rugby President said: “These appointments provide the club with a very strong rugby management team to take forward and develop our squad of young local players to the level they are capable of achieving. 

“We’ve been consulting with our former professional players, as well as other key individuals, in order to update the approach to rugby in the town and we have realistic aspirations.

“We believe that these positive coaching developments will help drive the club’s ambition, strengthen our position within the club game and engage all levels of rugby in the town as we strive towards the goal of a successful, sustainable and community driven club – something we’d already started to work towards with the launch of Maroon’d @ Gala event which will now take place in April 2021.”

Thomson ‘absolutely committed’ to new role

Thomson’s new combined role has been welcomed by Southern Knights boss Rob Chrystie.

He said: “Fraser is a really talented player. Through his many years at Melrose and latterly being part of the senior management team of the Southern Knights, he has a great deal to offer any rugby team that’s fortunate enough to work with him.

“I know he’s absolutely committed to balancing his responsibilities to his Southern Knights team mates with his new coaching obligations at Gala.

“This is a really positive development where we see the potential of our Super6 franchise expanding in influence to other teams in the Borders.”

Image caption: Gala run out at Netherdale, where there’ll be a new coaching team in place next season. Image credit: Fotosport/David Gibson

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