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The long-serving Hodge follows Cockerill out the door at Edinburgh

By Sam Smith

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Long-serving assistant coach Duncan Hodge has followed his recent boss Richard Cockerill out the door at Murrayfield, the former Scotland international opting to quit Edinburgh after twelve years at the club in the wake of the recent appointment of Mike Blair as his new boss.

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It was just July 19 when Cockerill, the respected former Leicester coach, decided his career would be best served by calling time on his progressive stint at Edinburgh, the PRO14 club he joined in 2017 and where he was contracted until 2023 having signed an extension last year.

This was followed four days later on July 23 by the confirmation that Blair would succeed Cockerill ahead of the new season where Edinburgh will compete in the United Rugby Championship, the expanded version of the old PRO14. 

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Blair’s appointment, though, hasn’t been seamless as his arrival has now resulted in Hodge feeling his future is also best served away from the Scottish club. An Edinburgh statement 14 days after the installation of Blair as their new boss read: “Edinburgh assistant coach Duncan Hodge has today [Friday] left the club after twelve seasons with the side across various roles.

“The recent appointment of Mike Blair as Edinburgh head coach, himself a backs and attack specialist, has allowed for the club and former stand-off to part ways on amicable terms, as a reconstituted coaching team under Blair begins to take shape.

“A club centurion, Hodge’s coaching connection began with Edinburgh back in 2007 when then Scotland head coach Frank Hadden enlisted his services as a part-time specialist coach across Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors and the national team, a role which became full-time in 2012. He was promoted to assistant coach in Vern Cotter’s Scotland set-up for a two-year spell, which included the national team’s route to the 2015 World Cup quarter-final where they were edged out by Australia in the dying minutes.

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“He also led Scotland A’s 13-9 away win over England Saxons at Kingston Park during this time. Hodge then returned to Edinburgh as an assistant coach where he has remained in post for the past five seasons, including a short spell as interim head coach.”

Hodge added: “I have greatly enjoyed my time coaching in various roles in Scottish Rugby over the past 14 years. It has allowed me the opportunity to work across a wide range of age groups and playing levels and to develop my knowledge and experience through working with eleven different head coaches throughout the period.

“I feel extremely lucky to have worked with some world-class coaches, players and teams and thank them for their support over the years. Coaching at three World Cups, competing in PRO14 and Heineken Cup semi- and quarter-finals along with seeing so many Edinburgh players recently progress to Scotland honours has certainly given me plenty of fond memories to look back on.

“I look forward to using this experience as I move on to new opportunities in the next stage of my career. Finally, I would like to wish Mike and the rest of the team all the very best for the upcoming season and beyond.”

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New Edinburgh boss Blair said: “Duncan deserves a lot of credit for his part in developing quality Edinburgh players for the club and the national team over the years. Everyone at the club thanks him and wishes him well.”

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The long-serving Hodge follows Cockerill out the door at Edinburgh

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