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.
“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.”