Sean Lineen leaves Scottish Rugby

1990 Grand Slam held several roles in the performance department but was conspicuously absent from recent restructuring announcements

Sean Lineen has announced his departure from Scottish Rugby. Image © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Sean Lineen has announced his departure from Scottish Rugby. Image © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SEAN LINEEN’s 30 plus year association with Scottish Rugby has come to an end. Up until a few months ago he held a range of roles with the sport’s governing body – including head of Scottish Rugby Academies and national age-grade teams, head coach of the Scotland Under-20s team, and ‘On Field Lead’ for Super6 – but his name was conspicuously absent during a series of recent announcements relating to the on-going restructuring of the performance department under Director of Performance Rugby, Jim Mallinder.

“For me this has been a really hard decision. But it is the right time to leave,” said the former Scotland centre, in a statement which claimed his departure had been agreed amicably.

“I’ve been involved in Scottish Rugby for a lifetime, and I feel lucky and very privileged to have been involved in the game here, firstly as a player and coach with Boroughmuir, then with the national team in both roles and to have played for Edinburgh and coached Glasgow Warriors.


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“I will always be hugely enthusiastic and passionate about Scottish Rugby – everyone knows that.

“There are so many good things going on just now: uppermost amongst them, the turbo-charging of investment into the pro-teams; and the improved links between our best young players, training and playing, with the pro-teams. And it’s all about creating and developing competitive environments.

“Over the last nine years, the work we’ve done to develop our young talent and the national age-grade programmes – not just with the under-20s but getting competitive programmes in place at under-16, under-17, and under-19 – has been the right way to go, for coaches as well as players.

“Since 2013 I’ve worked in my roles as Head of International Age-Grade and then Head of Academies to bring the youngsters through a visible pathway and it’s also been gratifying to see coaches like John Dalziel, Steve Lawrie, and Peter Murchie graduate from their experience with the under-20s to posts with the national and pro-teams. “

Lineen – who celebrates turning 60 on Christmas Day – intends to “take a wee breather” before deciding on his next steps.

“I always remember the Clint Eastwood quote. At 91 he was asked: ‘What’s the secret to staying young?’  And his answer: ‘Don’t let the old man in’.  So, for me, I’ll be determined not to let the old man in. I feel physically and mentally very active. I love my cold-water swimming in the sea and I’m playing a lot of tennis (rubbish second serve) and cycling,” he explained.

Scottish Rugby’s Chief Executive Mark Dodson said: “We sincerely thank Sean for the dedication and commitment he has shown Scottish Rugby over the decades and look forward to seeing him at BT Murrayfield matches in the future.”

Mallinder added: “Sean has contributed a huge amount to Scottish Rugby over the last 30 plus years, first as a player, then as a coach.

“Over the last nine years, combining roles of coach and administrator, he has put his stamp on the development of our young talent and the national age-grade programmes – not just with the under-20s but developing programmes at under-16, under-17, and under-19 levels.

“I know it’s been a hard decision for him to make and he leaves with sincere thanks and affection from all corners of the game.”


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About David Barnes 2917 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

21 Comments

  1. so sorry to hear that he has”departed” sean has the finest rugby brain and the greatest enthusiast for the game i have ever had the pleasure to meet. dont be surprised if he is appointed by one of the other nations

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  2. The right move for scottish rugby you cant have 1 man playing multiple roles.Head of academy. under 20 head coach.In charge of super 6.He might be a great neighbour or friend but he has run his course.Its not about jobs for the boys it’s got to be performance related just look at the under 20 results.And the amount of super 6 boys not playing week in week out.

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  3. He was always a safe pair of hands in whatever role he fulfilled. His enthusiasm and passion for Scottish rugby was second to none. A genuine person who has dedicated much of his life to our game. Someone who perhaps could have been a real asset as a rugby brain at Board level with a deep understanding of our game and where such knowledge and skills are currently in short supply? I do hope that he ends up back in club rugby where his talents and experience will be properly appreciated.

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  4. There’s a few in the top floor including Dobson with there greedy snouts in the trough should be marched out and into a police cell for what they are doing.

    Sean Lineen should be a future SRU chairman or at least in the top 5 in control of the SRU, how can someone with his knowledge of the game be ousted like this is unbelievable, enough is enough, the club’s need to get rid of the hierarchy at the SRU asap.

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    • Mike, why is the assumption that he was ousted? Other than the inference in the article with phrases like ” ..conspicuously absent..” and ” ..claimed his departure..” I haven’t seen anything that says his departure is other than amicable.
      Whatever the reason he should leave with our thanks for giving half his life to Scottish Rugby

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      • Ed don’t comment on a subject if you don’t know what you’re talking about, every true rugby fan/player/ex player that know, have watched and been coached by Sean know what’s gone on since he laid the strongest foundations at Glasgow Warriors then side lined for Townsend to take the glory.
        If Dobson knew anything about rugby he would have kept Sean at Glasgow and kept Cotter at Murrayfield, Townsend with his international manager ambition should have went and learned his trade first, you don’t use the international team managers position for this.
        Why does Dobson and is SRU cronies think they deserve to be paid the huge salaries, larger than any of the other 6 nations boards, it’s an absolute disgrace.

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  5. Did an amazing job, alongside Shade Munro, in turning Glasgow from a laughing stock into a respected and tough team to play against.
    Whilst playing at Firhill and training at three or four different venues he was able to produce an amazing team spirit and defensive nous that caused many illustrious opponents to dread their trip to Maryhill.
    I remember a shellshocked Wasps replete with English and a famous French international after tasting defeat in the Heineken cup. The player interviewed after the game was unable to explain how they had managed to lose a game that they assumed they would win!

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  6. I met Sean at Boroughmuir when I was a lowly bottlewasher and head gofer,and a fan of Boroughmuir. He was a brilliant player ,coach, club member, and friend. How he never got the Scotland job escapes me. I was also lucky enough to be a friend and neighbour of the great Bruce Hay who worked with Sean when he was a player and coach at ‘Muir’. I will never forget Bruce telling me over a drink that Sean would be the Scotland coach. Obviously his face did not fit with someone. Enjoy your retirement Sean and accept my and many other thanks for your friendship and your contribution to Scottish rugby.

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  7. Was Sean Lineen not elbowed out of the Glasgow coaching role to make way for another who subsequently elbowed Vern Cotter out of the way ? A great success as a player and coach contributing hugely to our last grand slam, with a natural ability as a communicator. One of the few kilted Kiwis who have stayed and made a life/contribution here in Scotland. Lets hope we can continue to benefit from his talents.Thank you and well done.

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    • eh, not quite.
      Have a look at where Glasgow finished in the league the season before Lineen was moved on. I had expected him to be sacked at that that point. All coaches reach a point when its time to move on or be moved on. That was it. Following season was going better and the timing of the change of coach was handled badly, but it was the correct decision. Nor did Townsend elbow Cotter out. If you want to know how that came about, ask and ex DoR who has just been sacked by Aus.
      That said Sean Lineen has been a terrific servant for us. In so many roles sweeping up behind SJ. Best of luck to him

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  8. The best.
    Full of enthusiasm for life and the game of rugby.
    Applied himself so well to so many roles.
    Can’t think of a better guy to give young aspiring players a passion for the game at Under 20. And the platform he laid at Glasgow for what followed was outstanding.
    He was a bridge builder because he engaged with people at every level of the game.
    He shall be missed hugely
    Thanks Sean.

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  9. To have lasted 30yrs in Scottish rugby with the administrators through the change from Amateur to Pro rugby takes some doing Sean..How you put up with some of those numpties shows a great level of belief in the actual players and most coaches. Hope all goes well from here on for you and your family !

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  10. I wish him well – a great servant to Scottish rugby. However, I never really rated his skill-set with the U20s set-up if I’m honest. I agree with an earlier comment that he may have been spread too thinly (jack of all trades and all that).

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  11. Can’t understimate his commitment to Scottish rugby but it was too many jobs for one person and there’s a lot to be done with regards to our infrastructure. Plenty of highlights on and off the field though and the u20s hammering of Wales prior to lockdown was a real coaching highlight.

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  12. Great bloke and a real enthusiast who effectively bridged the gap between amateur and professionalism. Loved the way he set about the summer touch rugby tournaments which got a lot of people trying the game. Good luck sir and many thanks

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  13. I will always remember with affection Sean taking my son to lunch as part of a prize he won. He brought along fellow players David Johnstone and Derek Stark. He was the epitome of kindness to a little boy who was clearly starstruck!

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