JIM MALLINDER will leave his role as Scottish Rugby’s Performance Director in June 2023, less than four years after being appointed to the role in August 2019.
A press release issued by Scottish rugby said Mallinder has “overseen a rise in world rankings for both Scotland’s national teams and a strategic focus on investment for Scotland’s two professional teams in Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors.”
However, disappointing results and performances in the Scotland Men’s U20s programme and a lack of Scottish developed players entering the pro game has been an increasingly sharp cause for concern during his tenure. Developing the Super6/Super Series competition he inherited into something which can really drive the player development pathway has also had limited success.
The former Sale Sharks full-back was appointed head coach at that club after hanging up his boots in 2001, having a successful three-year tenure before taking up a post in the RFU’s National Academy, working with the England Under-20s team and England Saxons.
He then spent 10 years with Northampton Saints from June 2007, initially as head coach then director of rugby, during which time the club won promotion back into the Premiership, won the Anglo-Welsh Cup and finished second in the Premiership regular season in 2010, reached the final of the Heineken Cup in 2011, reached the Premiership play-off final in 2013 and won both the Challenge Cup and the Premiership in 2014.
However, after winning just one game from ten in all competitions at the start of the 2017-18 season, including a heavy defeat to a massively depleted Ospreys side, Mallinder was sacked by Northampton Saints in December 2017.
The following June, Mallinder was announced as the new performance pathway coach at England Rugby where he stayed until taking on the Scottish Rugby role just over a year later.
“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,” said Mallinder
“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.”
According to the Scottish Rugbys statement: “Mallinder referenced the evolution of the Scotland Women team as it moved from amateur to full-time contracts as one of the points of progress he was proud to be associated with during his tenure.
“He also oversaw the delivery of the Super6 competition as it emerged after the Covid pandemic and then evolved into the Super Series which saw Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors ‘A’ teams, as well as the Fosroc Futures join the tournament.
“In the women’s game the development of the Celtic Challenge featuring aspiring players from Scotland, Wales and Ireland was also launched earlier this year and will now continue into 2024 with two Scottish teams aligned to the pro teams.
“Mallinder has also contributed to a recent review of the youth male pathways programmes following the disappointing progress by Scotland U20s in the World Junior Trophy tournament last summer.”
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.”