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Ex British & Irish Lions boss Ian McGeechan joins Championship outfit

By Josh Raisey
Sir Ian McGeechan (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

RFU Championship outfit Doncaster Knights have announced the appointment of four-time British & Irish Lions head coach Sir Ian McGeechan as their new consultant director of rugby.

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The Yorkshire-born former Scotland international will assist head coach Joe Ford at Doncaster, who currently sit in second place in the league.

The 77-year-old boasts a coaching resume that few can rival, with a Grand Slam with Scotland to his name, a Heineken Cup title in 2007 when director of rugby at Wasps, and two Lions series wins- against Australia in 1989 and against the world champion Springboks in 1997.

After the appointment was made, Doncaster Knights president Steve Lloyd said: “After a relationship spanning a number of years, during which we have both fought, with others, for the betterment of Championship rugby, together with our mutual passion for Yorkshire rugby, Ian, or Geech to all who know him, very willingly agreed to come and give us a hand creating the future at Castle Park.

“We continue to be focussed on development at Doncaster Knights, whether that be players, coaches or the club itself and I cannot think of a better mentor for head coach Joe Ford or a better fount of knowledge for the whole team and the club’s development generally.”

McGeechan spent the entirety of his playing career with Headingley and is keen to develop players from Yorkshire, recently describing Doncaster as “head and shoulders” above anyone else in the county.

“The talent is still there in Yorkshire,” he said to RugbyPass.

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“If you look at the schools, the number of players, the number of clubs, there are still players coming through. They just need a clear structure.

“If we can get the changes we need then we would have a really good template for England.

“The big challenge is what happens between 18 and 23.

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“The players have to go through somewhere at the top end of the academy and it should be a Yorkshire club.

“To do it properly it has to be through Doncaster. They are head and shoulders ahead of everyone else at the moment.

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“If the talent stays, it keeps developing. The Yorkshire identity is kept and the players stay with their friends. At the moment they are having to go outside Yorkshire and they shouldn’t have to.

“There’s no doubt we lose players because some don’t want to do that.”

Doncaster host third place Coventry at Castle Park this Saturday, with the two sides level on 39 points in the table.

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