THE SRU has confirmed that Phil Greening is no longer coaching the Scotland sevens squad but denied he had quit or been sacked from his post.
The 37-year-old former England hooker joined the SRU in the summer, replacing Stevie Gemmell as part of the union’s desire to push up standards in the international sevens arena. The squad has failed to make any impact on the first three IRB tournaments this season, despite a new training regime introduced by Greening covering more players this year. It has now emerged that Greening is back down south with Gemmell back as head coach.
The SRU stated that it was an interim role for Gemmell, who has a wide-ranging function overseeing coach development at Murrayfield, and that Greening was absent due to “personal reasons”. SRU CEO Mark Dodson said: “Phil has had some personal issues. I can’t comment further on that. There are reasons for Phil’s absence.”
It is unclear whether Greening will return, but sources suggest it is unlikely.
Gemmell will welcome back experienced forward Struan Dewar and talented youngster Chris Dean from injury for the fourth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in New Zealand next weekend, Glasgow academy centre James Johnstone also joins up.
Gemmell made no mention of Greening’s departure, but said: “Everyone involved with the team have been disappointed with our World Series results so far. The focus in the next couple of weeks is to improve the accuracy and consistency in our game.
“We have a tough group with ties against Portugal, Fiji and Australia. However, we beat Fiji in South Africa in the last leg of the circuit and Australia in Dubai, so we have recent victories against our opposition that the players can draw on.”
Squad: James Johnstone (Glasgow), Michael Fedo, Struan Dewar, Chris Dean, Colin Gregor (capt), Mark Robertson, Andrew Turnbull, Colin Shaw, Scott Riddell, Michael Maltman, James Fleming, Russell Weir.