Scottish Rugby looking for a new performance director after Jim Mallinder decision

Jim Mallinder will leave his post as Scottish Rugby performance director in June 2024. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)Jim Mallinder will leave his post as Scottish Rugby performance director in June 2024. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Jim Mallinder will leave his post as Scottish Rugby performance director in June 2024. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Scottish Rugby is looking for a new performance director after it was announced that Jim Mallinder would be stepping down in June 2024.

Mallinder, the former England international, has been in the post since August 2019 having joined from the Rugby Football Union. He will leave with grave concerns surrounding Scotland’s ability to produce young, native talent for the men’s national side.

The under-20 team, seen by the SRU as the main the “pipeline” for supplying the senior squad, has all but dried up, with Gregor Townsend expressing disquiet earlier this year that no player has made the transition from U20s to the full Scotland team in four years. Scotland U20s hit a new low in the summer when they were defeated by Uruguay in the group stage of the second-tier World Rugby U20 Trophy tournament in Kenya. The loss scuppered Kenny Murray’s side’s hopes of rejoining the elite World Rugby U20 Championship next season. Instead, the young Scots will face the ignominy of attempting to qualify for the Trophy.

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Ultimately, Mallinder will carry the can for these failings although he will point to progress elsewhere, most notably with the women’s national side who were given full-time professional contracts last year and won the WXV2 tournament in South Africa shortly afterwards. Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors will also field women’s teams for the first time next year who will compete in the Celtic Challenge competition.

Mallinder, a former head coach of Sale Sharks and Northampton Saints, also oversaw the delivery of the Super6 competition as rugby emerged from the Covid pandemic. The tournament was designed to bridge the gap between the club game and pro rugby and has evolved into the Super Series but the jury remains out as to how successful it has been. A Fosroc Futures team was introduced this season, offering a platform for the best young players to compete in the competition, but they found themselves on the end of some dispiriting high-scoring defeats.

Mallinder said he would take some time away from the game before deciding his next move.

“I’ve pretty much gone back-to-back in jobs from Premiership Director of Rugby to the RFU to Scottish Rugby and so I’ve decided to stop, take a pause, before looking for something new,” he said. “As anyone working in elite sport will tell you there are a lot of time and travel commitments, so I’d like to spend some time at home once this role ends.

“I’ve hugely enjoyed Scotland and contributing to the successes our teams have had and we have worked hard to improve areas which could be better. Since arriving I’ve been hugely impressed with how our teams perform and the results we can achieve against larger rugby nations. I’d like to thank everyone at Scottish Rugby for their support as there are fantastic people right across the organisation and I wish everyone well for the future. I have also enjoyed working with Rugby Players Scotland, and am proud of the mutually respectful relationship we have with them.”

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson said: “Jim is a rugby man through and through and I’d like to thank him for his leadership and contribution to our high-performance programmes over the past four years. Jim has given a lot to this role and so I respect that he now wants to take time out and reflect before deciding what the next step is he wants to take in his career. Jim has overseen significant strategic steps in our high-performance programmes in recent years and he leaves with our thanks and best wishes for the future.”



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