MICHAEL BRADLEY wants to make Edinburgh consistent performers next season after being unveiled as head coach at Murrayfield.
Evolution rather than revolution is key for the former Ireland scrum-half, who has signed a two-year deal to become permanent successor to Rob Moffat, who left in January.
Edinburgh recorded Magners League wins over Heineken Cup finalists Leinster, Ulster and Ospreys this season but are eighth in the table ahead of Friday’s final match of the campaign at Benetton Treviso. “The potential is there and it’s up to me as head coach to bring that out in the guys in the next few years,” he said.
“Edinburgh have had inconsistent results in terms of winning and where the expectation might be.
“If you look at the wins that means the potential is there and if we can get consistency next year that is something we’ll be striving for.” His appointment ended speculation of a possible return to club management by former Irish coach Eddie O’Sullivan.
Bradley is relishing working with Ross Ford, Mike Blair, Chris Paterson and Dutch winger Tim Visser, who in 2012 will qualify to play for Andy Robinson’s side.
“Today is my first day so later on today and tomorrow and all of next week we’ll be planning.
“Once we’ve got that out of the way we’ll have a clearer idea of what the details will be but it will be a big pre-season for us. We’ll discuss all of our ambition for the future and build a strategy to achieve it.”
The 48-year-old, who made his Ireland debut in 1984 against Australia and won 40 caps, will take charge of the team following Friday’s match in Italy, where interim boss Nick Scrivener will oversee team affairs before returning to his native Australia.
Bradley was director of rugby at Connacht for seven years, guiding the Galway-based side to three successive Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals.
He has also coached Ireland A and took caretaker charge of the full Test side on the 2008 tour to Australia and New Zealand prior to Declan Kidney assuming the head coach role.
At club level he won Munster senior league and cup medals and an AIL title with Cork Constitution, his home-town club. His first coaching role was with the Temple Hill outfit, from where he progressed to the role of head coach of the Ireland U21 team, contributing to the progress of players like Tommy Bowe.
Bradley also worked as technical advisor to Georgia, a team Scotland face during this autumn’s world cup. He is hoping several of his players are brought to New Zealand. “The more Edinburgh rugby players involved in the national squad the better.
“At the start of the season the opportunities will be for the other players in the squad to put a flag down and say this is how I can perform.
Scotland coach Andy Robinson described Bradley as the ideal man for the job. “This is a great appointment for Edinburgh and Scottish rugby. I am certain Michael will bring great drive and determination to the role. I very much look forward to working with him and wish him every success.”
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