Aviva Premiership
McGeechan defends Redpath's credentials
Graham Jenkins
November 2, 2012
Sale Sharks' Bryan Redpath barks some orders, Sale Sharks v Saracens, Aviva Premiership, Salford City Stadium, England, September 8, 2012
Bryan Redpath was removed as director of rugby at Sale Sharks before being confirmed as their new head coach © Getty Images

Sir Ian McGeechan has offered a ringing endorsement of under-fire Sale Sharks head coach Bryan Redpath.

The Sharks will look to snap a seven-game losing streak when they tackle London Irish at Salford City Stadium on Friday night with Redpath in a new head coach role having been removed as the club's director of rugby earlier this week.

Redpath paid for his side's disastrous start to the season with chief executive Steve Diamond opting to act in the wake of their latest reverse at the hands of Worcester last weekend. Initial reports suggested that Redpath had been sacked but the Sharks were quick to insist he had not been dismissed with the former Scotland international later confirmed in the post of head coach with Diamond taking charge of the side for the remainder of the season.

Redpath has long used McGeechan as a mentor and the British & Irish Lions legend has been on hand in recent weeks as the pressure has grown on the Premiership strugglers. And despite a woeful run of results, McGeechan insists Redpath's credentials are not in doubt.

"We speak on a regular basis and he is a good coach, a very good individual and has good character," McGeechan told ESPNscrum. "We've talked things through and I have just tried to use my experience and support him. And when you talk things through it sometimes makes the decisions you have to make easier or clearer."

Redpath's plight, and that of his former forwards coach Steve Scott who was shown the door by the Sharks last month, may well have attracted the attention of the recently-former Rugby Coaches Association that aims to represent the interests of coaches in both rugby league and rugby union.

McGeechan, who boasts an unrivalled coaching CV, is at the heart of the new organisation that he hopes will prove to be an invaluable support mechanism. "We felt there was a gap there," he explained. "Coaches did not have anywhere to share ideas or seek support which is sometimes quite important. In some cases it is just a matter of young coaches being backed by more experienced coaches because sometimes it can be a very lonely place.

One of the association's six directors, McGeechan also highlighted the tendency to point the finger at the coach when a side was struggling when the reasons for poor results may be more widespread. "The coach is always the easiest one to move on or question when often you have to look at the whole structure to see what support there is in the club," he said.

"It is important that coaches feel that they can pick up a telephone or meet to talk things through and just get good advice on what decisions need to be made. Sharing knowledge and having the opportunity to take ideas and use some, change some, and have a forum and support structure that coaches could buy into and relate to is very important."

Sir Ian McGeechan is the ambassador for FirstCape wine which has launched www.lionswineclub.com in association with The British & Irish Lions. For more information about FirstCape wine visit www.firstcape.com

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Graham Jenkins is the Senior Editor of ESPNscrum and you can also follow him on Twitter.

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