Jim Mallinder offers helping hand to ‘inexperienced’ Mike Blair on Scotland tour

Jim Mallinder says he can be a sounding board for Mike Blair when the latter takes charge of Scotland for the first time this summer.

Scotland interim head coach Mike Blair. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS
Scotland interim head coach Mike Blair. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS

With Gregor Townsend away on Lions duty, Blair has been promoted to interim head coach.

The former scrum-half will oversee the A international against England and Test matches against Romania and Georgia.

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The experienced Mallinder, Scottish Rugby’s director of high performance, will join the tour to eastern Europe. The former Northampton and Sale coach says he can be as hands-on as Blair needs him to be but he envisages taking a more advisory role.

Jim Mallinder, the former Sale and Northampton coach, is Scottish Rugby's director of high performance. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

“Mike is relatively inexperienced but he’s a very good coach, we know that,” said Mallinder. “It will be a new experience for him leading the team, telling players when they’re selected and when they’re dropped, dealing with the media and selecting the side. So I can assist him with that.

“Mike and Gregor have done all the planning and picked the squad and I’m very happy with that. We’ve seen it’s a development squad with lots of uncapped players on the trip.”

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Although part of his role will be to assess the coaching team, Mallinder does not intend to be a looming presence.

“My job is just to assist as much as I can,” he stressed. “I hope Mike doesn’t see me as someone looking over his shoulder all the time. That’s not the reason that I’m going. It’s to get to know the coaches and the players. I’m away for two weeks and I don’t want to be sitting in a suit at the back of the room. I want to get involved.”

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