ONE of Scotland’s longest-serving coaches, Ian Rankin, is to step down at Dundee at the end of this season and look to help promote Scottish players and coaches from inside the corridors of Murrayfield.
Rankin, who first started coaching in 1990 with Edinburgh Wanderers, has worked at club, professional and international levels, bringing together Edinburgh and the Borders and developing the Scotland A and club international sides.
He has now put his name forward as a candidate for vice-president of the Scottish Rugby Union.
Rankin said: “It has been a real privilege to have been at the heart of Scottish club rugby and to have helped to establish Dundee High Rugby amongst the top clubs in Scotland. But I felt it was time, after ten years, to step aside. It was then suggested to me that I think about joining the SRU and I was asked if I would think about representing club interests at Murrayfield, and I have to say my initial reaction was that that wasn’t for me.
“But the more I thought about it, and the fact that there are concerns about the lack of a strong voice for club rugby at the moment in the corridors of power, I thought ‘why not?’ I now have to look at persuading people that I’m worth electing and, particularly, that I’m not the type of person who will suddenly change if I did end up inside Murrayfield.
“The experience I have from club rugby, the pro game and the international set-up has afforded me a good appreciation, I think, of how it can all work together, and, hopefully, having played a part in helping develop the game on the pitch, maybe now I could help to develop it off the pitch.”
The 56-year-old former Howe of Fife and North & Midlands back row has long been a popular figure in the game, a reasoned character with a strong passion for seeing players and the game develop from the grassroots. A clear target for him now is pushing the claims of native coaches.
“That is definitely one thing we need to address in the Scottish game – the lack of Scottish coaches operating at a high level. I know the challenges the SRU face, having been there, but I also know the difficulties coaches who come into the country from elsewhere face with their lack of knowledge of the game, the players, coaches and clubs here, through no fault of their own. That is another reason for putting myself forward. I’ve been critical of aspects of our development, such as that, and maybe now it’s time to put up or shut up.”