Scottish fans are enjoying the appointment of someone from their bitter rivals England after it was announced that Northampton’s former Premiership-winning boss Jim Mallinder will become Scotland’s new director of rugby.
Mallinder had recently been head of England’s young player pathway system but is now set to take over the role vacated earlier in 2019 by Scott Johnson.
After taking control of England for their June match against the Barbarians at Twickenham, Mallinder may well have been part of the RFU’s succession plan post-Eddie Jones. But this move has obviously thrown that prospect into disarray.
With Dean Ryan, the RFU head of international player development, also leaving his post earlier this year to team up with the PRO14 Dragons, England have lost two central figures in their youth set-up in a matter of months.
Scotland fans and former players on social media have been quick to welcome Mallinder on board at Murrayfield.
Jim Mallinder is the new Scott Johnson at Murrayfield https://t.co/hTjMWGAk5A
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 23, 2019
The feeling on Twitter is that Scotland’s gain is England’s loss, while a number of England fans never fancied Mallinder for the role of head coach anyway. This has been the reaction:
Gratefully received thank you!?
— Andy Nicol (@AndyNic9) August 23, 2019
— Rory Lawson (@rorylawson9) August 23, 2019
— Darren Cunningham (@totalrugby14) August 23, 2019
Scotland's gain is England's loss
— Mike Wild (@MikeBfpo) August 23, 2019
Definitely Englands loss
— Alan 'BigAl' Frener (@Bigal0546) August 23, 2019
— Luke Boddice (@LBoddice) August 23, 2019
Mallinder’s CV and ability to build a team cannot be questioned, as he took Saints from the Championship to Heineken Cup finalists in four years and Premiership winners in seven years. He oversaw a huge change at Franklin’s Gardens, which is why the role of Scots’ director of rugby may suit him perfectly.
His appointment is about looking ahead to the coming years alongside Gregor Townsend, who is hoping for an on-pitch boost this Saturday when Scotland take on France seven days after losing to the same opposition 32-3 in Nice.
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