BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Scottish Rugby and London Scottish have joined forces in a move that will see some of the nation’s most promising players – and coaches – farmed out for experience at the English Championship side.
Grand Slam legend Sean Lineen, Scottish Rugby’s Head of International Age-Grade Rugby, has been appointed part-time director of rugby at the London club to oversee the current head coach, Peter Richards, and to lead the ‘on-field direction of the performance programme’.
Roddy Grant, recently forced into retirement from Edinburgh Rugby because of injury, has also joined the coaching staff at the Athletic Ground for the remainder of the season.
It is expected that Lineen, the former Glasgow Warriors head coach, will assess the support staff, facilities, match scheduling, pre-season preparation and player recruitment at London Scottish.
A statement indicated that the agreement will ‘provide a further professional rugby environment for identified players, coaches, analysts and support staff, as well as benefitting their personal and professional development’.
The initiative is designed to allow for players in Scotland’s professional teams and youth sides to be sent to London for top-team experience and to provide a seamless transition when they are there.
Mark Dodson, Scottish Rugby’s Chief Executive, said: “I am very pleased the hard work put in by Scottish Rugby and London Scottish over recent months has now come to fruition.
“This is an exciting, logical partnership, which benefits both organisations, who share the common objective of developing and improving Scottish rugby.
“It provides a new, competitive step on the performance pathway for both players and coaches and we look forward to working with London Scottish CEO Rod Lynch and his team in the seasons to come.”
London Scottish, founded in 1878, is a member club of the Scottish Rugby Union and holds the distinction of having the highest number of players, 221, to have been selected for the national team.
Scotland winger Rory Hughes is currently on loan at the club from Glasgow Warriors, joining Academy players Robbie Ferguson, George Horne and Jack Cosgrove.
Sir David Reid, chairman of London Scottish, commented: “We will benefit from having experienced players, while we can provide the level of on-field competition that younger Scottish players need to aid their development.
“London Scottish intends to remain a successful and ambitious Championship club. Sean Lineen and Roddy Grant will help us achieve this.
“The relationship between the Union and London Scottish has never been stronger. I really appreciate the leadership and vision shown by Scottish Rugby in this exciting initiative and the support they have shown to London Scottish.”