Boyd ready for 'big challenge' as Caithness head coach
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Cameron Boyd is looking forward to his first game as Caithness Rugby Football Club's new head coach.
His appointment to the unpaid post was confirmed ahead of Saturday's Caledonia Region Division 1 north conference home match versus Mackie. He succeeds Kenny Russell, who stepped down two games into the start of the season.
Thirty-year-old Boyd joined the club in 2015 as a player and community coach before becoming the first Seconds team coach two years ago.
He said: "My new role means I will be responsible for both the Firsts and the Seconds and if the Firsts don't have a game, I'll do what I can to help out the Seconds.
"I know it's a big challenge but I've got a good support network from the other coaches and the committee."
As part of the new set-up, the club is looking to appoint a new coach and/or manager for the Seconds.
Last month, former Green Roddy Gray took over as the Firsts team manager while David Pottinger continues as assistant coach.
Boyd played for Aberdeen Wanderers while studying for a master's degree in strength and conditioning.
After moving to the far north, he worked in the gym at Thurso Leisure Centre and then at Dounreay before taking on his current home-based job in Thurso with a Highland care charity.
A shoulder injury and an aggravated concussion cut short his playing career.
Boyd has no illusions about the challenge he faces in rebuilding the Firsts to be the fighting force which in the 2010s saw them anchored in the national league set-up and reaching the final of the second-tier National Shield.
"It's obviously been tough for the club given the number of experienced players who have retired over the past couple of seasons," he said. "That has left a big gap and meant a lot of the younger guys have suddenly realised they are no longer fringe players and have had to step up to the plate.
"They have had to do that earlier than they expected, so it has been a steep learning curve for them."
Boyd is happy with the morale in the squad and, having taken charge on an interim basis for the last away clash against Aberdeenshire, he sees no shortage of potential.
The Greens are still searching for their first match point after four straight defeats, all away from home.
Boyd said: "The results might be going against us but I genuinely think we're in a really good place just now. I can see us making progress and we now have a Seconds side playing league rugby and we also have a very good junior set-up.
"We have under-14s and under-16s playing regularly and we're hoping to re-establish an under-18s early next year, so it is looking good for the future."
The club development officer post has also been filled by Emmy Smith.
The Greens were, incredibly, idle again last Saturday after scheduled visitors RAF Lossiemouth called off for the second time this season.
The forces side pulled out on Thursday evening because many of the players had been put on emergency flood relief stand-by duty.
They had been unable to fulfil the original date on September 9 because of the number of members of the squad assigned to "special duties".
The fixture has now been shifted to February 3.
Looking to Saturday, the coach said he will be looking to his men to remedy the defensive frailties which contributed to their 45-12 defeat to Mackie in Stonehaven in the second match of the season.
The backs are boosted with the experienced Marc Anderson set to return at stand-off, Dougie Webster and Charlie Quinn in the centres, Scott Webster at full-back and Cameron Ryder on the wing.
Kevin Brims and Kevin Budge are expected to return to the pack.
Boyd said: "I'm really looking forward to the game. It's going to be a challenge but the attitude in training has been really positive and we've got good competition in a few areas.
"Where I'm looking for us to continue to improve is in our defence. We're asking them to show more physicality and oomph in defence.
"As long as we see progress, we'll provide the foundations for the results to follow.
Saturday's game kicks off at 2pm.
Aberdeen Wanderers' traumatic campaign plumbed a new low on Saturday when they succumbed to a 90-0 drubbing at Ellon. They have conceded an average of just over 70 points in their seven defeats and sit on minus three points.
Caithness Krakens travel to Elgin on Saturday seeking a bonus-point win versus Moray which would maintain their outside title challenge in Caledonia North League 2.