Lineen takes on Super 6 role

The remit of Scottish Rugby's Head of Academies, Sean Lineen, has been extended to include the on-field oversight of Scotland’s Super 6 competition, which begins next season (2019/2020).

Lineen - Glasgow Warriors Head Coach from 2006 to 2012 and Assistant (backs) Coach to Scotland under Frank Hadden - will add the new competition to his existing responsibilities for the Fosroc Academy and Scotland national age-grade set-up, in order to align the three critical pillars of nurturing the next generation of performance rugby players.

He said: “There’s a lot of good, hard-working, passionate rugby people in Scotland and, ultimately, we all want the same thing - to improve the standard of domestic competition and shorten the gap between it and the elite level of the game. This role is about making sure I can be a link in that process from a rugby perspective.

“I’m excited to work with the players and coaches on selection, recruitment and facilities to help make sure we have a league that people want to be a part of.

“Standards will be raised and a lot more will be asked of players and coaches. I'm confident we’re heading in the right direction with a lot of positive and energetic debate about the future of the club game.”

Bridging the gap

Super 6 was born out of a desire in the game to narrow the gap between the professional, elite level and the top tier of Scotland’s domestic set-up.

Six opportunities were created for franchises in the new competition, with Ayr, Boroughmuir, Heriot’s, Melrose, Stirling County and Watsonian FC the successful candidates at the end of the tender process.

As well as competing in the new domestic championship, the teams will face teams from Wales in a new cross-border competition, as announced at the 2018 Scottish Rugby AGM.

Around 30 contracted, ‘stage three’ Fosroc Academy players will be spread across the Super 6 squads, and Lineen believes the environment will be an excellent fit for their development.

“There needs to be continuity in player development,” added the 29-times capped Grand-Slam winner.

“There are good players and coaches in the club game but it [the current top tier] needs to go to another level in terms of having very ambitious coaches, facilities and staff in place so, when players come in to the environment, they develop.

“Super 6 creates a really exciting performance programme for promising young players. They’re coming through a very strong academy pathway but it can’t end there. We need to deliver a compelling playing environment in Scotland.

“We need an environment where the players can perform and are put under constant pressure in a championship that, together, we can shape to suit our needs, from the length of the season to who we play against and how often."

The role of Scottish Rugby Technical Director, Stephen Gemmell, will focus on the strategic development of the competition to ensure it develops into right solution for Scottish Rugby and the domestic game, by serving to bridge the gap for players that either want to play at a higher level or have ambitions to become the professional players of the future.

He said: “Fundamentally, we’ve been tasked with finding a solution to improve the standard of the domestic game, provide a pathway for our coaches and create cross-border competition.

“I think Super 6 will enthuse players and coaches. We need to retain our best players in Scotland and this is another opportunity to do that by providing 20 meaningful and competitive fixtures between the two competitions."