SEAN LINEEN is to take charge of the ‘on-field oversight’ of Super 6, the new league which is to be installed between the domestic and professional games from the start of the 2019-20 season.
This new role has been added to his current remit as Scottish Rugby’s Head of Academies and national age-grade teams ‘in order to align the three critical pillars of nurturing the next generation of performance rugby players’.
“There’s a lot of good, hard-working, passionate rugby people in Scotland and, ultimately, we all want the same thing – to improve the standard of domestic competition and shorten the gap between it and the elite level of the game. This role is about making sure I can be a link in that process from a rugby perspective,” said Lineen, who was a member of the Scotland team which won a Grand Slam in 1990, and was Glasgow Warriors’ head coach from 2006 to 2012.
“I’m excited to work with the players and coaches on selection, recruitment and facilities to help make sure we have a league that people want to be a part of,” he continued. “Standards will be raised and a lot more will be asked of players and coaches. I’m confident we’re heading in the right direction with a lot of positive and energetic debate about the future of the club game.”
Around 30 contracted, ‘stage three’ Scottish Rugby Academy players will be spread across the Super 6 squads, and Lineen says the environment will be ideally suited to aiding their development.
“There needs to be continuity in player development,” he said. “There are good players and coaches in the club game but it [the current top tier] needs to go to another level in terms of having very ambitious coaches, facilities and staff in place so, when players come in to the environment, they develop.
“Super 6 creates a really exciting performance programme for promising young players. They’re coming through a very strong academy pathway but it can’t end there. We need to deliver a compelling playing environment in Scotland.
“We need an environment where the players can perform and are put under constant pressure in a championship that, together, we can shape to suit our needs, from the length of the season to who we play against and how often.”
The role of Scottish Rugby Technical Director, Stephen Gemmell, will focus on the ‘strategic development of the competition to ensure it develops into right solution for Scottish Rugby and the domestic game’.
“Fundamentally, we’ve been tasked with finding a solution to improve the standard of the domestic game, provide a pathway for our coaches and create cross-border competition,” said Gemmell.
“I think Super 6 will enthuse players and coaches. We need to retain our best players in Scotland and this is another opportunity to do that by providing 20 meaningful and competitive fixtures between the two competitions.”