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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
Final call for coaching legends
By Colin Moffat

Ian McGeechan and Jim Telfer
McGeechan and Telfer keep an eye on the troops in training
This year's World Cup marks the end of an era for Scotland with Jim Telfer retiring and Ian McGeechan leaving his coaching duties to take over as the Scottish Rugby Union's director of rugby.

Telfer, who is also assistant coach, has been at the forefront of SRU innovations such as the emergence of the professional sides and will step aside for McGeechan after 10 years in the job.

McGeechan will be replaced by Australian Matt Williams.

Williams, who has worked wonders at Leinster, has a hard act to follow because McGeechan's contribution to the development of northern hemisphere rugby has been colossal.

He is the only man to have coached three successive British and Irish Lions tours and was victorious on two of those occasions.

With the aid of McGeechan's strategic insight, the Lions showed they could master the might of the southern hemisphere heavyweights.

McGeechan's Scotland highlights include a famous 13-7 win over England in 1990 to seal the Grand Slam.

Among his other notable achievements was a fourth place finish at the 1991 World Cup.

McGeechan played 32 times for Scotland, captaining the side on nine occasions.

A talented centre with Yorkshire club Headingly, he scored 21 points for his country and toured with the Lions in 1974 and 1977.

He then went on to coach Scotland from 1988 to 1993 after a two year stint as assistant.

A five year spell in charge at Northampton ended with a return to the Scotland fold to work alongside Telfer at the 1999 World Cup.

Jeremy Guscott and Ian McGeechan
Jeremy Guscott joins McGeechan in celebrating the 1997 Lions win
McGeechan first coached the Lions in the successful tour of Australia in 1989, before losing the 1993 series in New Zealand.

In 1997, again working beside his old pal Telfer, he masterminded a 2-1 Lions win over South Africa.

A gentle, intelligent man, McGeechan has developed a blueprint for high speed, high impact rugby, whereas Telfer prefers a simpler, up-and-at-'em approach.

Together they form a good-cop, bad-cop partnership to rival any Hollywood production.

A bruising number eight in his playing days, Telfer won 25 caps for Scotland.

He will be 63 next year and has had some minor health problems in recent times.

Former Scotland international John Jeffrey once described Telfer as a "complete sadist" and, while McGeechan prefers a quiet, considered approach, his trusted assistant is never slow to let players know when they are under-performing - usually with the aid some colourful language.

Scotland's players will be desperate to send McGeechan off with some performances to be proud of, just as they will be anxious to avoid any ear-bashings from the ferocious Telfer.

Here's hoping the players can respond to McGeechan's battle-plan and keep Telfer's infamous acid tongue quiet.





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