Ian McGregor is the new Head Coach of the North West Warriors having emerged successful from last week’s interview process as the Union looked for a successor to Bobby Rao.
The Brigade man had been appointed to the position temporarily when Rao returned to his native Hyderabad last August.
Although both matches under that tenure were washed out, it is widely believed McGregor had the backing of the senior players to now get the job in his own right.
It would appear that the post, and indeed the Head Coach role for all three Unions is an initial 1 year contract and will include a substantial consultancy element.
McGregor however believes that little will change in terms of what the job will entail as the new campaign edges into view.
“I’m delighted to have been offered the opportunity to become Head Coach of the Warriors,” he said.
“I have learned my trade working alongside several top coaches in the past but long term it has always been one of my goals to become Head Coach at representative level. I am working towards my Level 3 badge at present but in the absence of a Head Coach over the winter I have been liaising with Trevor Hamilton on the logistics of preparing for the new season. Regardless of who the new Coach was to be it was essential that we were ready to hit the ground running.
“It is difficult to facilitate squad sessions at the moment with the Ireland senior team and the under-19’s all away however we have now started our Strength and Conditioning programme.”
Asked about the squad available to him this season, the new man said he was more than happy with his lot.
“Without wishing to sound blase; it is what it is. We have some real quality throughout the squad and one of our main strengths is that the boys have now been playing together for some time.
“There is an ongoing policy of only selecting players currently playing within a home Union and on a personal note I would envisage that’s how we will approach 2016.”
Looking towards the summer, McGregor said that he would challenge his players to be the best that they can.
“This is a major challenge for all of us. I will be making demands on myself as well as them and we will have high standards to set and maintain. It is very much an honour to represent your Union and we will look to treat it accordingly,” he added.
“I won’t set any targets on the players publicly but we will certainly look to do that as a group when we get together to start work.
“I am also keen to establish where we are in terms of the Emerging Warriors Academy which is one of my main priorities in the weeks ahead. I want to have a pool of committed players ready to challenge for a place in the Interprovincial team.”
Asked if the new role would impact on his own playing career McGregory said that was something he would discuss with Brigade.
“It is obviously a major consideration because the committment requirements will now change with my new post,” he added.
“Whatever happens I would still like to be involved at Beechgrove in some capacity whether that is as playing and/or coaching.”
And the new man also had a message for those who hadn’t made the Warriors’ winter training squad this time.
“Although we have a squad of 21 players at present that doesn’t mean it’s a closed shop. If we sit down to select a squad at any stage this summer and someone has scored heavily or taken loads of wickets we would be very foolish not to look at that.”
For now though, the Head Coach is relishing the opportunity to lead the Warriors in the Hanley Interprovincial series and said he was very grateful to be given the opportunity to work with a really good bunch of players.
The NWCU are expected to identify an Assistant Coach in the coming days.