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Last Updated: Monday, 10 November, 2003, 18:38 GMT
McGeechan admits frustration
Scotland bosses Ian McGeechan and Jim Telfer
Ian McGeechan and Jim Telfer have been irked by criticism
Ian McGeechan is determined to break down the barriers after he ended his second stint as Scotland coach seething with frustration.

McGeechan will officially step down within the next few weeks to take over from Jim Telfer as Scotland Rugby Union's director of rugby.

"The last four years have left me a bit frustrated," said the former Lions coach, who is to be succeeded by Matt Williams.

"I have had to work harder or longer to get certain things that I wanted and that is why I will make sure Matt will get everything to make his life as easy as it is possible to be.

"I have probably been a professional coach longer than anybody and, when I was director of rugby at Northampton, I was responsible for a 2.5m budget.

I am going to take responsibility for looking very hard at the structure behind the national side
Scotland coach Ian McGeechan
"I have worked with some pretty hard-nosed businessmen, so I know about the finances of the game and I would like to try and use that experience for the benefit of Scottish rugby."

Former Leinster chief Williams' arrival as leader of the national team marks the end of an era in Scotland.

Telfer and much-capped players Bryan Redpath and Kenny Logan are all departing the international scene as McGeechan moves upstairs.

And the incoming Australian faces a rebuilding job ahead of next spring's Six Nations Championship, with player numbers declining and the dearth of talent in Scotland emphasised by their largely poor showing during the Rugby World Cup.

Telfer's parting shot was to brand critics of Scotland's professional rugby as selfish, parochial and narrow-minded and McGeechan knows he has some major issues to tackle.

"I have some ideas about what I want to do. I am going to take responsibility for looking very hard at the structure behind the national side," said the departing coach.

"The support systems are very important and there are areas that we could significantly improve."

McGeechan believes that one of his major achievements over the past few months has been to bring in Marty Hulme as a full-time fitness trainer.

Every professional player contracted to the SRU will be given an individual fitness programme by Hulme and be answerable to him rather than their clubs or districts.

The move is part of a drive to cement the national side as the apex of the Scottish game and ensure the entire elite programme is geared towards increasing standards at the highest level.

"Fitness-wise, we have made great strides in the last 12 months," reflected McGeechan.

"It has taken a while and I had to knock my head against a door for a time before it opened, but the arrival of Marty will be one of the significant factors as to why we will improve.

"Now we will be able to play games for the full 80 minutes.

"The standards are now being set by the national side, which is not something that has ever happened before.

"We have to recognise that international rugby is the showpiece. That is what brings the money in and we can't afford to get it wrong.

"The way we are in Scotland, we have to make it as good as possible. We will have a very serious look at how we can move things forward even further."





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