SEAN Lineen’s goal is to help develop “good players and good people” as he officially embarks on his role as head of international age-grades.
The appointment of 14 new coaches was announced by the Scottish Rugby Union yesterday as it aims to foster an integrated, over-reaching structure that will help Scotland produce a flow of talent which will allow the country to compete at the top.
Former Scotland centre Lineen, who has been Under-20 coach for the past three years, hands the reins to his assistant John Dalziel and moves into an overall leadership role.
Lineen said: “It’s something I’ve been doing unofficially for the past couple of years but now we can really push on. It’s all about keeping the base as wide as we possibly can and making sure we provide the best environment for the talented youngsters we have here to develop.”
After a positive year at age-grade level, including best-ever finishes by the Under-20s in the junior Six Nations and World Cup, and the rolling out of the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Regional Academy system, the SRU described yesterday’s announcement as “coordinated recruitment designed to maintain momentum and develop a unified national style of play”.
Dalziel will be supported by Ben Fisher, who is currently an academy coach in Edinburgh and was Scotland Under-18 assistant coach last season, and Ian Monaghan, an academy coach at Glasgow and the West who was Scotland Under-20 assistant coach for the past two seasons.
Scotland Under-19s will be revived under Don Caskie, director of rugby at Dollar Academy and U18 assistant coach for the last two seasons, and Calum Forrester, current head coach of Ayr.
At Scotland Under-18 level, Ally Donaldson, director of rugby and coach at George Watson’s College, is the new head coach and he will be joined by assistant coaches Andy Henderson, director of rugby at Strathallan School, and Currie head coach and former Scotland international Ben Cairns.
At under-16 level there will be the creation of two Scotland teams named Scotland Red and Scotland Blue “to keep a wide playing base and ability to select on potential at that age level”.
Scotland Red head coach is Roddy Deans, coach at Merchiston Castle, who will be assisted by Edinburgh academy coaches Bryan Easson and Davy Wilson.
The Blue team will be led by former Scotland player Stevie Lawrie, now assistant coach at Heriot’s, with his assistant coaches being the former Scotland Sevens chief Graham Shiel and Caledonia and the North academy coach Colin Phillips.
Dalziel said of his promotion to Under-20 coach: “It’s a huge honour to be given such an important programme like the Under-20s to deliver. I’ve been fortunate to work with Sean for the last three years and know how key it is as a transition for our best young players.
“With a Six Nations Championship and World Cup every year it is a big programme, and I think the work the players are now doing at the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy and the number playing in the BT Premiership means we can step by step look to develop a longer term consistency to our approach.”
Lineen added: “It’s a great opportunity for JD, he’s an exceptional young coach who has earned his spurs at Melrose and working with me with the Under-20s, but he’s just one of a number. Right through the system we have brought in some great guys who will make excellent coaching groups.
“We have good young players and now it’s all about skilling them up and playing in a more competitive environment. With the academy system we can get them better prepared and conditioned and geared to be ready to go pro.
“But enjoyment is key, too. We want to develop good players, who are also good people.”