Jim Mallinder, John Fletcher and Kenny Murray talk about efficiency division priorities

JIM MALLINDER, Scottish Rugby’s Director of Performance, hosted a press briefing on Monday afternoon throughout which he used to be joined through John Fletcher and Kenny Murray (the 2 key appointments within the fresh restructuring of his division) to stipulate their imaginative and prescient for bettering the participant building programme on this nation.

A large number of floor used to be coated over 45 mins, beginning with the precise roles of Fletcher and Murray, ahead of travelling throughout the benefit of Super6 and the price of getting a season construction which permits the country’s perfect younger participant’s to construct into the Under-20s Six Nations.

Fletcher is a former ‘England Rugby Head of Player Development Pathway’ and Director of Rugby for Newcastle Falcons, who used to be appointed Scottish Rugby’s ‘Head of Pathways and Elite Coach Development’ ultimate November.

“John has a massive job and that could easily be two different roles, and potentially in the future they may be,” defined Mallinder. “We have not had an elite coach developer in Scottish rugby since I’ve been here. We’ve got some brilliant coaches who work with players, we do that really well, but the question is: Who is looking after the coaches? And we haven’t got anybody. Part of John’s role is to look at this aspect.”

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By growing extra just right coaches, together with consultants, and placing a structured emphasis on a variety of rugby basics the Scottish sport is fitted to (comparable to ‘innovation’, ‘problem-solving’ and ‘tenacity’), the expectancy is that extra gamers will succeed in a degree the place they may be able to ponder getting into the choice combine for Murray’s space of accountability.

He coached Ayr to 2 Premiership titles in 2008 and 2013, used to be then appointed an assistant/defence trainer at Glasgow Warriors the place he served for eight-and-a-half years, ahead of being appointed Scottish Rugby’s ‘Head of Player Transition’ in January, with the top trainer function for Scotland Under-20s a part of his remit.

“We see what John does as a pathway, what Kenny does as a pipeline … so pathways is wider whereas what Kenny looks after is: who are these next players coming through [to the elite level]?” endured Mallinder. “This includes the contracted academy players, so that we don’t just give Edinburgh and Glasgow 30 players and say ‘these are your players’. Because they may have four fit choices, and they may have them holding bags, and the reason we contract academy players is so we can look after them.”

Mallinder additionally highlighted that Murray is level guy for the SQ programme, which seeks to spot the most productive Scottish-qualified skill from around the world and hook them into committing to Scotland.

“SQ is here to stay … we need Scottish-qualified players,” he said. “Yes, we need to develop our own better, I agree with that. But we also have to get good Scottish-qualified players from outside the country, and Kenny is leading on that as well.”

Mallinder and Murray are each obviously conscious about considerations concerning the SQ programme turning into a shortcut to steer clear of tackling the trickier problem of growing gamers internally, so have been fast to worry that the 2 approaches will have to be complementary

“The SQ programme is massive for me,” stated Murray. “I think we’ve got 10 or 11 boys in the U20 training group that are from SQ programmes and that’s not too dissimilar to what’s happened in the past.

“When I looked at the Ireland versus Scotland full international, I think I counted eight or nine guys in the Scotland team who hadn’t come through the domestic programme, so that highlights the importance of the SQ programme for us as a country.

“There are big challenges in our domestic game, as everyone knows. Ideally, we’d bring our whole Scotland playing group through the domestic system but at the moment we’re not quite there.

“My mindset and aim is not to look at the SQ programme as an easy option to get players. I want to develop the best players in our country and bring them through, but the SQ programme is there to support that, and we need it at the moment.”


Turning his consideration to making improvements to performances of the Scotland Under-20s workforce, who have been whitewashed in each the 2021 and 2022 Six Nations, Murray highlighted the desire for joined-up pondering – starting with a larger center of attention than we ave observed up to now on giving the country’s perfect kids the risk to get common aggressive game-time within the Super6 Championship, which kicks off on the finish of the summer season.

“That will start in early August and finish in October which is actually perfect timing for me because we can then go into our under-19 and under-20 development window, which will include 1872 age-grade games,” Murray defined. “Then we’re looking at internationals for the under-19s before Glasgow A and Edinburgh A play Scotland under-20s during December and January.

“So, suddenly, we’ve got a neat competition window that should take our under-20s on a nice clear upward slope leading into the Six Nations at the start of February.

“I think that’s something we’ve not done as well in recent years – getting those games into place early enough – but we’ve got the two pro teams on board with that, and it will really help our under-20s guys. If we can play at that level against good A sides from Glasgow and Edinburgh, then when we go to play the Six Nations, we will be much better prepared.”

Mallinder and Murray spoke in favour of Super6 and its function within the building pathway, nevertheless it used to be Fletcher who gave probably the most forceful endorsement of the league.

“Actually, Wales have been in touch, we speak to Ireland quite a bit, and England have been trying to solve it since the game went professional in 1995 and haven’t yet solved it in terms of what is the playing environment for players when they leave school,” he stated.

“Super6 is not perfect, yet, but it’s not that far off in terms of its timing, providing quality competition, full-time coaches, and coach development.

“There’s a lot of things should be celebrated in terms of Super6 because I actually think other unions look at us in envy in terms of the fact that we have a competition and we have some flexibility around it, compared to other parts of the world, and certainly the northern hemisphere because it is slightly different in the southern hemisphere.”

An choice type for offering emerging stars suitable rugby is thru skilled A workforce leagues, however Fletcher reasoned that his manner isn’t sensible.

“History tells us that A leagues have always been problematic when you’ve gone through injuries, or you have coaches who are not as engaged with it, and that’s why in England they have scrapped that approach,” he identified. “You’d have one team basically having 22 invited players and the other team full of internationals, so the mismatches were quite significant

“Occasional A team games are part of the solution, but to do that week-in and week-out in a league is, quite frankly, not viable financially and in terms of player depth.”

Meanwhile, Mallinder conceded that there’s nonetheless no prospect of a cross-border component being added to Super6 within the foreseeable long run however insisted that paintings is being performed to expand its scope and attraction.

“We’ve done lots of blue sky thinking and cross-border would be brilliant, so we’re still talking,” he stated.

“Kenny has spoken about what we do with our under-19 and under-20 cohorts, and we have had discussions, such as: Can we put a team in, for example, to play in Super6? Will that be a nice five or six games to move into the Six Nations programme with that game time together? All these things are being discussed.

“We certainly don’t have all the answers at the moment, but I think we’re moving in the right general direction.”

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