Rankin and Breckenridge to coach club select side
December 20, 2006

A coach who has helped Dundee HSFP to two cup finals and promotion to Premier Division 1 and a backs coach whose side have secured eight try scoring bonus points in the league campaign are to coach the Scotland Club International side who will make their first appearance on home soil in the spring.

Ian Rankin (Dundee HSFP) and George Breckenridge (Heriot's) will pilot the side that is drawn from talent in the club game when they meet their Irish counterparts on the evening of Friday 9 March at a venue to be agreed in Edinburgh.

The Club International was launched last season with Ireland winning the inaugural match 30-13 at Donnybrook in Dublin.

The coaches have been chosen after a selection process whereby Premiership clubs were asked for nominations and then interviews took place.

Rankin said: "This is an initiative which is warmly welcomed because it provides the opportunity for the gifted club player to represent his country. I remember being at the Scottish Rugby Awards Ceremony last season at Murrayfield and when the players from the first club international were presented with their caps their pride was tangible."

During his long involvement in rugby Rankin played in the second and back-rows for Edinburgh Wanderers, Howe of Fife and the North and Midlands. He then coached Kirkcaldy, North and Midlands, Caledonia Reds, Edinburgh Reivers and Scotland A and was team manager with the Edinburgh professional team before returning to the community ranks in 2003 and helping Dundee HSFP to the Scottish Cup Final in 2004 and 2005 and promotion to Premier 1 in 2006.

He added: "As someone steeped in rugby the chance to be involved in assisting players from the club game to test themselves on an international stage holds considerable appeal.

"It's a one-off game and I hope to bring some of the experience from my coaching career to the team's preparation."

Breckenridge, a Scotland B stand-off who played rugby in France and New Zealand, as well as eight years with GHK and then two with their offshoot Glasgow Hawks, was a mainstay in the Glasgow District side. In his coaching career he had three years with Ayr and a season with Murrayfield Wanderers before taking up the reins as Heriot's back coach at the start of this season. He had three seasons from 2003 as assistant coach to the Scotland Under 18 team.

He said: "This is an exciting time to be involved in the club game in Scotland. Players are keen to improve their fitness and skills and chase the honour of representing their country. They want to be involved in this match and that's a bonus for the club scene. I look forward to working with Ian in preparing the side."

Clubs in Premier 1 and 2 have already nominated players they think worthy of consideration and Rankin and Breckenridge will be joined by last season's team manager, Grant Wilson (Boroughmuir) in running the rule over contenders from throughout the club game.

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