Rugby: Scots coaches go abroad to broaden skills

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A GROUP of nine club and age-grade coaches will represent the SRU at conferences this summer and use the opportunities to improve the quality of Scottish coaching.

Glasgow’s forwards coach Shade Munro will join Alex Duncan, the former Aberdeen Grammar School FPs and Scotland Under-18 coach, in Christchurch as part of the widening John MacPhail Scholarship that now funds coaches as well as players on a development programme run by the Canterbury High Performance Unit in New Zealand.

Gordon Henderson, from Preston Lodge and Scotland Under-18s assistant, is to attend the IRB Talent Optimisation Programme at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, while Kenny Murray and Peter Laverie (Ayr), Phil Smith (Heriot’s), Grant McKelvey (SRU senior regional academy manager), Gary Mercer (regional academy coach and Scotland U-16) and Chris Dewsnap (regional academy coach and Scotland U-17) will attend the Six Nations Coaching Conference in Rome.

The SRU have received criticism for their failure to promote Scottish coaches into leading roles, with Edinburgh and Scotland all being coached by men from outside the country, in recent years, and with no long-term success. The SRU insist that coaches here do not match up to overseas candidates, but the union’s coaching development manager Jock Peggie is hopeful these trips will help tackle that.

He said: “Development opportunities such as these provide a chance for them to learn from other coaches and other cultures and how they work in performance environments. Part of the selection process involved the coaches informing us how they plan to share their learning with their peers on their return and I look forward to listening to their experiences when they do so.”

Munro and Duncan will follow on the footsteps of young coaches Chris Paterson, Ben Fisher and Iain Monaghan, who have benefited from the Macphail Scholarship and The Robertson Trust funding in recent years.