Graham Lowe, Director of Performance Rugby, is to leave Scottish Rugby, it was announced this afternoon.
Lowe, a native New Zealander, will take up a key performance role as High Performance Manager with the AFL team, Western Bulldogs, in Melbourne, Australia, as he seeks to be closer to family and friends in the southern hemisphere. He will remain in post at Scottish Rugby until the EMC Test campaign is concluded in November. A worldwide recruitment search will now begin with a view to his successor being in post for the 2013 RBS 6 Nations Championship.
Lowe, 41, who was appointed to his post three years ago, was thanked by Scottish Rugby’s Chief Executive, Mark Dodson for his “huge determination and energy to raise standards” in the game in Scotland.
During his tenure, Lowe oversaw the restructuring of the performance department and Scottish Rugby’s player acquisition and contracting policy. He promoted closer interaction between the national teams, the pro-clubs and the top tier of the club game and played a significant role in some of Scottish Rugby’s success stories including the form of the pro-clubs last season and the undefeated Southern Hemisphere tour in the summer of 2012.
Mark Dodson said: “Graham has played a pivotal role in the development and improvement of our high-performance rugby teams and has underlined the importance of strength and conditioning in our programmes.
The insight he has brought on what it requires to be successful at the highest levels of the game has been invaluable and both our pro-clubs, Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors, have benefited from his approach.
“Graham has also shown huge determination and energy to raise standards throughout our club game and I know he is proud to have played a part in the changes to the club season structure over the past three years and the continuing development and competitiveness of our RBS Premier rugby competition.
“His understanding of performance planning has helped to shape our strategy for the next few years yet I think what has endeared him most to a variety of people in the game in Scotland is his ability to put the player and individual improvement at the heart of his philosophy.”
Lowe, a former New Zealand Rugby Union and All Blacks fitness, strength and conditioning supremo, joined Scottish Rugby from the BMW Oracle Racing team that competed in world-class yachting events including the Americas Cup and the Louis Vuitton Trophy.
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Lowie over these last three years. He is a fierce competitor and knows what is required to be the best.
He has inspired high standards and has set Scotland on the right path. It’s now vital that we build on the foundations that he has laid through his leadership.
Graham Lowe said: “I have hugely enjoyed this opportunity to work with Scottish Rugby over the past three years and it is with some regret that I will be leaving now as much has been put in place to ensure Scotland retains and builds on its place and heritage in world rugby.
“However, after five years on the road it is a good time to take my young family back south and the opportunity of moving into Aussie Rules with the Western Bulldogs will be both exciting and challenging.
“I want to thank all those people whom I have had the pleasure to both work and interact with in the rugby community in Scotland as a whole. I particularly wish to thank the staff at Scottish Rugby for all their hard work. I wish them every success in the future.
“There is much to be proud of and the future looks bright with more and more talented players being developed at all levels.”