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Aberdeen Grammar: Ali O’Connor hopes for productive talks on club’s future

Aberdeen Grammar head coach Ali O'Connor.
Aberdeen Grammar head coach Ali O'Connor.

Aberdeen Grammar head coach Ali O’Connor hopes for productive discussions on the club’s future once the season has finished.

This season has been a tumultuous one for the club, with severe injury woes and Covid problems contributing to their relegation from the Premiership.

They face their final league game at home to Musselburgh on Saturday, on the back of a morale-boosting win over Selkirk last time out.

O’Connor is approaching six years in charge of Grammar’s first team, having succeeded Stuart Corsar as head coach in 2016.

Grammar are likely to have an end-of-season review in the coming weeks and O’Connor would like to be part of the club’s next steps.

He said: “It will need a discussion between myself and the chairman. We’ll be having a review session and hopefully that’s productive, with new ideas coming to the table.

Aberdeen Grammar were victorious over Selkirk last time out

“It’s something as a group we need to look at but I would like to be involved (next season).

“Looking at it, we were just coming to the top of the hill as a team when Covid hit. This season has not quite lived up to what might have been.

“We’re always looking to improve as a club, whether that’s with new personnel or existing ones.”

Grammar director of rugby Gordon Thomson said in January he felt the club needed a year out of the top-tier to rebuild and there was perhaps “too much pressure applied to one or two individuals”.

O’Connor added: “The lessons to be learned aren’t exactly rocket science. If you don’t start the season well, you’ll put yourselves up against it.

“We have unearthed some good players this season. Carywn Walker has made a real difference to our forward pack and we’ve had some great stories involving the boys coming in from Orkney, which has been fantastic.

“We can’t be too despondent. The boys have kicked on towards the end of the season. We’ve had a fair bit of player turnover and that’s not helped.

“Guys are now stepping up from the two and making an impact in the firsts and we need to focus on the positives. We don’t tend to navel-gaze very often.”

Musselburgh head to the north-east will little to play for, coming on the back of a 61-10 thumping by champions Currie.

O’Connor hopes Grammar can deliver a fitting send-off to their Premiership status in front of a home crowd at Rubislaw.

He added: “Both teams (firsts and seconds) are at home for the first time this season, so we’re looking forward to it.

“It will be the last chance for a wee while to support the guys. The support has been great, with a lot of kind comments.”

Co-captain Tom Aplin is back available for Grammar but Ben Inglis will miss out.

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