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New Ross Sutherland Rugby Club chairman Stephan Walker hails effort predecessor John Scott put into Invergordon outfit

By Andrew Henderson

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Ross Sutherland Rugby Club’s new chairman Stephan Walker has paid tribute to the work of his predecessor John Scott – and said he full expects to sit down with the incumbent coaching staff imminently.

Walker returned to the Naval Grounds outfit last week, having taken a year out after serving the club as treasurer for a decade.

He said it was always likely that he would come back to the club, but enjoyed being able to take a step back and support the Stags purely as a fan.

Now that he will be leading things forward in Invergordon, Walker made a point of giving credit to John Scott, who guided the club through the pandemic and the complicated process of building a new clubhouse.

“John and I worked really closely together right the way through his tenure as chairman,” Walker said.

Stephan Walker has taken over as Ross Sutherland Rugby Club chairman ahead of the 2024/25 campaign, replacing John Scott. Picture: James Mackenzie
Stephan Walker has taken over as Ross Sutherland Rugby Club chairman ahead of the 2024/25 campaign, replacing John Scott. Picture: James Mackenzie

“Nobody should underestimate the power of work that John put into it, and the time he devoted to the club.

“It’s been part of his life since he was 16 years old, and everything he has done has been with the best interests of the club at heart.

“He has put in a phenomenal shift, and the contribution he has made to the club is huge.

“On a personal level, I was just thrilled to work with him and learn from him as well.

“We’ve both got the same vision for where we want Ross Sutherland to be. I’m a different person, so I won’t necessarily be taking the same route he would have, but we are both aiming for the same things and we both want the same things for the club.”

While there is still some time before the players return for pre-season training, the work at a boardroom level has already begun.

One of the top items on Walker’s agenda is trying to convince Murray, David and Ali Kennedy to stay on as coaches for next season too.

“The Kennedys have brought a smile back to the players’ faces, they are all enjoying it, and that feeds into everyone else at the club,” Walker added.

“It’s not just hard successes like winning trophies, but those successes of having players who are really enthused. That is infectious, and that goes all the way down the whole club.

“One of the first things we need to do is make sure we have a senior coaching team in place for next season. I absolutely want David, Ali and Murray to stay – as do the players – so I’ll be sitting down with them soon to have those conversations.

“More generally, just as there is pre-season training for the players, there is a pre-season for the board members as well which is all about preparing for the season ahead.”

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