DUNFERMLINE Rugby Club have a new head coach after they confirmed that Australia-based Mark Dobson will take charge for the coming season.

The Blues have been without a coach since Caine McIntyre decided to step down in May after leading the team to a sixth-place finish in BT Caledonia Division One.

Now Hazel Swankie, who herself has switched roles from president to vice-president, has announced that Dobson, who has been coaching Helensvale Hogs RUFC on the Gold Coast, will take charge in September.

He arrives from a Helensvale side that play in the Gold Coast and District Rugby Union competition, and has around 500 registered members featuring in a number of junior, colt and female teams, and takes over from former Dunfermline player McIntyre, who returned to the club in a coaching capacity four years ago as assistant to Derek O’Riordan and took over as head coach in 2015 after the Irishman left prior to Dunfermline being relegated from BT National League Division Three.

In his two seasons in charge, McIntyre led the club to successive sixth places in Caledonia Division One and, at the end of what he said was a “tough and frustrating season”, he quit after declaring that he had “taken the team as far as I can”.

After securing the services of Dobson, Swankie commented: “Moving forward into the 2017-2018, season I am pleased to announce that Mark Dobson will be joining Dunfermline RFC as our new head coach.

“Mark is a young coach with experience in community sport and high performance pathways and a playing background in England and premier grade rugby in south Australia. He is finishing off his season as head coach at his current club and will join us in the first week of September.

“Neil Donald, our director of rugby here at DRFC, has been instrumental in securing Mark and until Mark arrives, both Neil and Iain Spence have been working closely with Mark to set up pre-season fitness and training.

“Mark fits in with our ‘whole club’ approach to coaching at DRFC to develop and improve our players at all age levels.

“How our coaches plan sessions – not just physical training but strength and conditioning, nutrition and approaches to playing – create progressive pathways to become better players and coaches.

“We now have the building blocks in place to move the club forward.”

Swankie is particularly enthused by the club’s youth section, which brought Caledonia Shield final success for the Colts and under-16s at the end of the season.

She continued: “Some impressive performances has led to Owen Brown, Joe Halliday and Ethan Morgan from the under-16s, Niall Dowds for the under-17s, and Sean Fisher and Daniel Spurgeon for the under-18s all being selected to attend the Caledonia squad training camps.

“We have a vibrant youth section whose coaches, managers and parents put in countless hours of dedication to our club. It is critical going forward for our club to be self-sufficient in how we develop players and coaches and, due to the success of last season’s workshops, we will launch several more this season.

“Investing in the current playing and coaching resources is crucial for ensuring we provide an environment within Dunfermline to ensure we maximise the playing experience for players.

“Supporting and developing the coaching resource is critical to this and there are exciting times ahead.”

Meanwhile, David Quarm has been installed as president after the club’s AGM on June 28.

He steps up from vice-president to replace Swankie, who took on the role in 2015, and will now serve as vice-president herself as well as remaining club secretary.