Scottish Rugby has placed Grand Slam hero Sean Lineen in charge of pushing through its Super 6 strategy to revamp the club game.
It was announced yesterday that Lineen, a former Glasgow, Scotland assistant and under-20 coach and now head of academies, would be in charge of overseeing the implementation of the part-time professional league, which will kick off the season after next in 2019/20.
Lineen, who won 29 caps for Scotland and was part of the team that won the Grand Slam in 1990, said: “There’s a lot of good, hard-working, passionate rugby people in Scotland and, ultimately, we all want the same thing – to improve the standard of domestic competition and shorten the gap between it and the elite level of the game. This role is about making sure I can be a link in that process from a rugby perspective.
“I’m excited to work with the players and coaches on selection, recruitment and facilities to help make sure we have a league that people want to be a part of. Standards will be raised and a lot more will be asked of players and coaches.”
Super 6 will include the winning franchises from Ayr, Melrose, Heriot’s, Boroughmuir, Watsonians and Stirling County.
Billy McHarg, president of Ayr, welcomed yesterday’s announcement.
“I think Sean will be the perfect link in terms of getting the right coaches and young academy players into the Super 6, which is what it is all really about,” he said. “I know there are doubters out there and people are wary of change but we have had five meetings recently, four of which I was at, and they have been positive. The clubs going ahead with this are close knit, a lot more so than when we were BT Premiership rivals and things have been transparent.
“The key thing is that I am president of Ayr Rugby Football Club, which has been around since 1897 and there is no way I would jeopardise that. We will see how things go in the coming months but I can only speak positively about how things are at the moment.”
The next season will see a flurry of activity in terms of coach and squad recruitment, as well as the thorny issue of where the club XVs of the franchises will play in the domestic set-up.
Super 6 was born out of a desire in the game to narrow the gap between the professional, elite level and the top tier of Scotland’s domestic set-up. Lineen believes his role with the newly-sponsored Forscoc academies segues well into his new, wider remit.
“There needs to be continuity in player development,” said the former centre.