Hadden axed as Scotland boss
April 2, 2009
Frank Hadden has been axed as Scotland coach after four years in charge © Getty Images
Scotland coach Frank Hadden has stepped down from his post with the national team with immediate effect. Hadden, who has been in charge for four years, has paid the price for a second poor Six Nations campaign. His struggling side recorded only a single win, over Italy at Murrayfield, during the 2009 tournament and therefore failed to hit their minimum target of two wins for the second year running.
Edinburgh coach Andy Robinson, who enjoyed a torrid time as England coach in several years ago, has emerged as an early front-runner for the position. Hadden enjoyed a dream start to life in the hotseat following the disastrous reign of Matt Williams, who was sacked in April 2005 after winning only three of his 17 matches in charge.
He initially took over on an interim basis but wins against the Barbarians and Romania secured him the job permanently. It got better when victory over France, England - their first Calcutta Cup win for six years - and Italy saw Scotland finish third in Hadden's debut Six Nations. That really was as good as it got, however, as Hadden lost 21 of his next 32 Tests.
He came under increased pressure during the 2009 Six Nations, with his selection policy coming in for particular scrutiny after he failed to select the in-form Evans brothers for their opening match against Wales.
"Following a presentation at today's Scottish Rugby Board, covering a review of the Scotland performance in the RBS 6 Nations Championship, it was agreed with Frank Hadden that a change in head coach is required to allow us to plan fully for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand," said SRU chief executive Gordon McKie. "On behalf of the board, I have thanked Frank for his hard work and commitment during his term as national coach.
"We will be advertising the post, initially on our own website next week and through other appropriate rugby channels. Recruitment will be a wide-ranging, extensive process in Scotland and beyond. We will bring together a panel comprising of suitable rugby expertise to assist in identifying the best candidate.
"The timescale is still being finalised but I would stress that Scotland's next international will be played in November and this affords us some time to ensure we secure the right person. This appointment is important for Scottish Rugby and the supporters and will not be rushed as we plan fully for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand."
Former Scotland boss and Lions legend Jim Telfer believes that to appoint Robinson would be hasty move, and arguably wouldn't be in the best interests of the national side.
"Obviously, he's a coach who has performed at a higher level," he told BBC Sport. "But he did lose the England job because he wasn't successful. So I would look around a bit before jumping to any conclusions. Coaching the Scotland side isn't like coaching an English team. You have to know the environment you are going to be in. I wouldn't say Robinson's a shoe-in; he may be the cheapest option because he's already in Scotland.
"I'm sure there are coaches abroad - and I don't think there's a Scotsman who could do the job at the moment. In recent years, there hasn't been a great policy for developing Scottish-born coaches. We only have two teams and they're both being coached by foreigners. There's a logjam for the development of young Scottish coaches because they don't have enough avenues for them to coach in."
Jim Aitken, who skippered Telfer's 1984 Scotland side, believes that Glasgow boss Sean Lineen should be considered for the job ahead of Robinson.
"There aren't a lot of contenders around but Sean Lineen is the obvious one," he said. "Sean has worn the Scottish jersey and knows the passions involved. We are a different breed who think differently. Unless it is someone really outstanding, it should be a Scot next. We've gone down that road before with an Australian and a lot of New Zealand influence and it doesn't work so it has to be a Scot for all that the problems lie well beyond Frank Hadden."
"McKie himself should be considering his position. The SRU continues to be a club containing too many former school teachers of which Frank Hadden is one and until that changes I don't think it will make one bit of difference who takes over. Hadden has got the blame and I don't have a lot of time for him as a coach. But there are others in the SRU who need to be looking at themselves."