Rugby: Ian McGeechan back to Leeds as executive chairman

IAN McGeechan has returned to his rugby roots by taking over as executive chairman at Leeds

The former Scotland player and coach was born and bred in Leeds and made his debut for Headingley in 1964, the only club he played for and which merged with Roundhay in 1992 to form the current Leeds Carnegie club.

He represented Yorkshire for the first time two years later, against the South of Scotland, went on to win 32 caps for Scotland and featured on the famous ‘Invincibles’ British and Irish Lions tour of 1974.

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He wore the red jersey in New Zealand in 1977, and has become the most lauded Lions coach with involvement in five tours, most notably the famous wins in Australia in 1989 and South Africa in 1997.

He left Bath at the end of last season after a poor season and, while expected to have some role with the Lions tour to Australia next summer, the 65-year-old admitted that the Leeds role was a good way for him to keep an interest in the game without being at the sharp end on the coaching pitch every day.

He said: “I am delighted to have this opportunity to come back to where it all started for me and give something back to my club.

“I want to do everything I can to help develop the strong base there is already established here so that Yorkshire talent continues to be given an opportunity to shine at Leeds Carnegie.

“I have been involved with setting up and developing a number of academies in my career and as an ex-school master I know the potential of youth within the best possible structure.

“An important part of my role will be to build relationships with businesses, sponsors and clubs across Yorkshire to create ultimately a sustainable base to build professional rugby here in Yorkshire. The role of Executive Chairman is a new role for me but one that I am very excited about. I am keen to support the club in any way I can.

“I was fortunate in my early Headingley days to be guided by older, wiser players who helped shape me as an individual and now all these years on, things have come full circle and I have the opportunity to do exactly the same.”