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April 03, 2003

Nicol and Dixon want a Scottish coach

Posted by Editor on April 3, 2003 04:26 PM | No comments | Print | E-mail author
Glasgow captain Andy Nicol has urged Murrayfield chiefs to put a Scot in charge of the Warriors. And he was backed by former club coach Richie Dixon, who will return in a "caretaker" capacity until the end of the season.

Nicol said: "Whatever Kiwi and his staff did or didn't do, it was nothing to do with their nationality. But after after the season we have had, it would be good to have Scottish coaches - including people who maybe have lived here for a number of years who are not Scots-born."

This seems to be an obvious reference to Sean Lineen, who has emerged as an overwhelming favourite to join Glasgow in a coaching capacity. Nicol went on to say: "The three pro teams are all about promoting players for the national side, and so they should be about promoting Scottish coaches as well. With Ian McGeechan and Jim Telfer stepping down at the end of the World Cup, there are no real candidates within Scotland to step up, which is a problem. I think it would be nice to think that that situation could be addressed so that by the time the next World Cup comes around, in 2007, there are a group of Scottish coaches looking to take over. It was strange this morning with Richie back in - it was like déjà vu - but I'd be surprised if he came back permanently."

Dixon defended the SRU's decision to appoint Searancke last year. He said: "At that time there were very few Scots coaches who were genuine candidates. But I believe that situation has now changed and there are realistic possibilities for Scottish guys who have made progress in 12 months. Club coaches are only with their guys on a limited timescale but, in the pro game, when you have them all the time, you have to know how to treat them."

"I'm sorry and disappointed at what has happened, but the show has to go on, and this gives us the opportunity to consider home-based guys. There are the same considerations as you have with talented players, that moving them up too quickly can spoil them, but you have to say that some will, like players, react positively to the new challenge and step up to that, and we have to try. I don't know what Jim [Telfer] is thinking, but after a year working with some of the leading coaches in the country I'm happier there are people in Scotland who will commit if given the opportunity and that is what I will be telling him."

And perhaps referring to Searancke's alleged off-field failings, Dixon added: "Out and out rugby knowledge is not the only factor. At the top level, 80 per cent of the game involves leadership skills and the ability to manage your players properly. If a coach does not have the ability to manoeuvre people the right way, then he won't get the best from his players."

Speculation continues over the future of assistant Warriors coach, ex-All Blacks forward Gordon MacPherson. Glasgow's chief executive, David Jordan, insists he is is still at the club but it there are claims he has already left the club. The former Otago player, who first arrived in the country ten years ago to play for and coach West Of Scotland, then married a Scot and settled here, has filled the assistant's role since the start of professional rugby in Glasgow in 1997.

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