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Scotland’s management team strengthened for World Cup year

The management of the Scotland national team is to be strengthened as the countdown intensifies for the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Coaches George Graham (forwards) and Alan Tait (defence) will join head coach Frank Hadden, analyst Gavin Scott and team manager Guy Richardson in national team duties from next week.

Hadden said: “Everything we do from here on in is geared towards delivering a special performance at the World Cup this coming Autumn.

“At the end of this season’s Bank of Scotland Corporate Autumn Tests we conducted a review and concluded that to continue to progress we need to bolster our National Management Team, to ensure that our preparations for the World Cup are as good as they can possibly be.

“George and Alan have been integral to the national management team and their influence on the players’ displays since May 2005, where we have won nine out of 16 games, cannot be under-estimated.

“I am very pleased that they will now be working on the national team, preparing our players for the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations Championship, then our warm-up matches, before the World Cup kicks-off in September.

“Their appointment will also ensure that we leave no stone unturned in our analysis of our World Cup opponents.”

Former internationalists Graham and Tait have worked with the national management team part-time alongside their duties with their pro-team, Border Reivers, since Hadden took on national coach duties 19 months ago.

Hadden added: “It is equally important that in making these appointments we do everything possible to ensure that the Border Reivers are well equipped to continue to play to the best of their ability in this World Cup year.

“Players winning at pro-team level is also good news for our World Cup preparations and we assure Reivers’ supporters that we have gone down this road because we have every confidence in the coaching abilities of George and Alan and also because we have great respect for the individuals who will take on their duties with their pro-team.”

To support the Borders pro team, former national coach Richie Dixon, a man with vast experience in the professional game from his stint as head coach with Glasgow, will join Steve Bates at Border Reivers on a full-time, interim, basis as assistant coach from Wednesday (3 January).

Dixon said: “My role within rugby division at Murrayfield has seen me involved in much planning for the future shape of the elite game in Scotland. As part of that process I’ve kept in close touch with the development of the pro-teams and I’m very much looking forward to getting the tracksuit on again and working with Steve and the players at Netherdale, in what will be a hugely important year for the game in Scotland.”

The Border Reivers head coach Steve Bates commented on the World Cup and Borders interim coaching appointments: “I’m pleased for both George and Alan. At the Border Reivers we are committed to Scottish Rugby and Scotland doing well, especially in a World Cup year. George and Alan’s appointments with the national team reflect positively on what both have done with the Reivers.

“I’m also very much looking forward to working with Richie Dixon, whose knowledge as a coach I respect greatly. I know Richie will look to build on the very solid foundations George has laid down for our forward play.”

In addition to Berwickshire-born Dixon, Bates will also be able to call upon Scotland under-20 head coach Greig Oliver, the National Academy coach in the Borders, for additional pro-team coaching duties on an interim basis.

The interim coaching appointments for Border Reivers will be reviewed in 2007.

This article was posted on 30-Dec-2006, 14:06 by Hugh Barrow.

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