Rugby: Bournemouth Lions appoint backs coach Crispin Cormack to top role

Bournemouth Echo: . .

CHAIRMAN Denis Eveleigh has revealed the desire for continuity had led to Bournemouth’s promotion of backs coach Crispin Cormack to the role of director of rugby.

The 42-year-old, drafted in by current boss Budge Pountney in July, has agreed to take over when the former Scotland international stands down at the end of the season for personal reasons.

Welshman Cormack confirmed that Lions’ coaching set up would remain unchanged with head coach Paul Dunne and Peter Short continuing in their roles, while long-serving player Butch Carrel increases his involvement working with the club’s forwards.

Chapel Gate chief Eveleigh told the Daily Echo: “We had three external enquiries about the role but didn’t publicise it because we knew the people we had were keen.

“They had all done an impressive job and with the financial constraints we impose on ourselves we felt continuity was the best way forward for the club.

“The current coaches have the respect of all the boys so it was an obvious choice.”

And despite a tumultuous campaign which led to relegation from National Two South, Cormack insisted Bournemouth would not deviate from the long-term plan set in place by Pountney.

Cormack told the Daily Echo: “Budge has laid some very strong foundations very and we want to get back to the style Bournemouth had played in previous years. Over the past season, we have shown that in patches.

“Even if we had focused on a forwards game this season, I think we would still have struggled in National Two South because the league has some very powerful, semi-professional sides.

“We are going to have to find a balance between playing our wide, expansive game and using our forwards but we want the players’ first decision to be to move the ball and avoid contact where possible. We will be looking for a faster progression with that next season.”

Cormack spent a year in charge of Oakmeadians prior to joining Lions and has a strong playing pedigree having won the league title in his homeland with Pontypridd.

Following a back operation, the new man in charge at Chapel Gate moved into coaching with Cardiff Harlequins and development at Cardiff Blues before relocating to Poole for work in 2010.

He now faces a tough rebuilding job as Bournemouth prepare for life back in National Three South & West with senior players Tommy Booth and Frazer Wilford set to take jobs abroad, while Jack Metters may also be unavailable.

However, despite the depleted numbers, Cormack refused to rule out a push for promotion back to the promised land of rugby’s fourth tier.

On the prospect of going straight back up, he added: “We will set targets over the next two or three weeks and a lot will depend on player recruitment, but we want to finish as high as we can and I would like to think that we will be in that ball park.

“On the back of a tough season, though, it is important to set realistic targets and we will meet with the committee and take things from there.”

Meanwhile, Pountney is set to take charge for the last time when Lions finish their campaign at Taunton on Saturday (3pm).

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