Photos: Alan Solomons names Mike Coman as Edinburgh captain

Photos: Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons names Mike Coman as his new captain ahead of the Pro12 season

By Jason O Callaghan
Grant Gilchrist, Alan Solomons and Mike Coman Photo: Jason O’Callaghan

Alan Solomons has named Mike Coman as Edinburgh’s new captain ahead of their opening Guinness Pro12 game on Friday.

Experienced back row Mike Coman will skipper Edinburgh for the coming season in the Pro 12 and European Challenge Cup.

The boys are always willing to help, they know where the leading point will come from and they know me a lot better now

Mike Coman

The New Zealander, who will be lining out in the black & red for his second season in Edinburgh, will bring a wealth of experience and leadership to the role as captain, drawing on his previous spell as captain at the Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand’s National Provisional Championship.

“It’s a massive honour and I’m really looking forward to the season ahead,” said Solomons.

“Last year I was reasonably new, but I spoke to the senior players and it was pretty easy to get on board as there were a lot of leaders around me. The boys are always willing to help, they know where the leading point will come from and they know me a lot better now.”

Coman has of course captained Edinburgh before – he lead the team in the absence of Scottish international Greig Laidlaw, who was competing in the Six Nations.

With Laidlaw having moved on to pastures new, Coman has big steps to follow as the fan favourite gave close to a decade’s service to the capital club.

Coman, however, will have a strong vice-captain to call on for the coming season as Scottish international Grant Gilchrist was installed as No2 by head coach Solomons.

Standing tall and firm at just over six and half feet, Gilchrist has plenty of leadership experience, having captained Scotland in their summer tour of America.

“The summer was unexpected but it was a great experience. Having experience at international level is invaluable, and it will help me as I help Mike the best I can,” Gilchrist said.

Gilchrist is a graduate of Edinburgh’s Elite Development Programme and the gently spoken giant of a man will be entering his fourth season with Edinburgh.

“This is a massive honour for me to become vice-captain and it’s a massive step in the right direction in terms of where I want to go in my career.”

The summer allowed head coach Solomons to appoint his own leaders for the season ahead as the South African goes about re-moulding the club in his vision, drawing on his successes in the past with the likes of Ulster in Ireland and his time coaching the South African national team.

Although a proud South African, Solomons took time out to praise his new captain and indeed the country of his origins.

“Mike has such in-depth experience as a captain is one of the best rugby countries in the world, a country where rugby is important to the national psyche and I think with his time here in Edinburgh, he will do an excellent job for us.”

Solomons also pointed out that Gilchrist had no major leadership roles prior to his arrival, but after a full season under his stewardship Gilchrist captained the Scottish national side and he will of course now be Solomons vice-captain with Edinburgh.

“We got Grant involved in the middle of last year calling the line-up, we brought Grant on and he is now very much part of our leadership.”

After the announcement in the Murrayfiled Suite in the national stadium, the newly formed leadership of Coman and Gilchrist along with their head coach posed for photos and gave TV interviews as the new season kicks-off this weekend.

Edinburgh Rugby may have lost some key figures from last season but Solomons is building a strong team for the season ahead and has two commanding, vocal and respected players to lead the charge.

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