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The rise and fall of Frank Hadden

By Martin Conaghan

Frank Hadden
Under Hadden, Scotland won the Calcutta Cup against England in 2006

Frank Hadden was named as the new coach of the Scotland team in September 2005, as a permanent replacement for Matt Williams who had been sacked the previous April.

Scotland had won just three Test matches - against Samoa, Japan and Italy - out of 17 under Williams' stewardship in just over two years.

The former Edinburgh Gunners boss, who had taken charge on an interim basis for two summer friendlies in which Scotland beat the Barbarians and Romania, offered a fresh start and new impetus in Scottish rugby.

However, after failing to make any real improvement to the team, Hadden becomes the latest casualty at the head of Scottish rugby and the search for his replacement begins.

The Tayside man had an unspectacular playing career with Dundee HSFP, but during his time as a PE teacher at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh, he transformed them into Scotland's top rugby school.

Frank Hadden factfile
1954: Born June 14, in Dundee
1997: Named assistant coach with Caledonia Reds
2000: Appointed head coach of Edinburgh Rugby
2004: Takes Edinburgh to the Heineken Cup quarter-finals
2005: September - Confirmed Scotland's new head coach
2006: February - Scotland win first Calcutta Cup since 2000
2008: Six Nations defeat to Italy in Rome
2009: Scotland finish fifth in the Six Nations
2009: April - Hadden steps down

In 1997 he took up an assistant coach role with Caledonia Reds, before moving on to the top job at Edinburgh Rugby in 2000.

His crowning achievement at Edinburgh came in 2004 when he became the first coach to take a Scottish professional team to the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, where they lost to Toulouse.

His career as interim head coach of Scotland in April 2005 started with an impressive 38-7 win over the Barbarians at Pittodrie, which was followed up with a 39-19 win over Romania in Bucharest.

However, when he took up the role on a permanent basis in September the form dipped with a 23-19 defeat to Argentina at Murrayfield in November, before recording a win against Samoa shortly afterwards.

Wins against France and England in the 2006 Six Nations were followed by a humiliating 37-17 defeat to Italy the following year, handing the Italians their first ever away victory in the tournament.

Considered by many to be a friendly and affable character - in addition to being popular with the players and coaching staff in the Scotland set-up - Hadden's qualifications and ability as a coach were never seriously in doubt.

However, it was his failure to inspire Scotland to meet the SRU's minimum target of two Six Nations victories per season that ultimately led to his stepping down as head coach.

With an impressive career as a club coach under his belt, Hadden's future options remain open, but having coached at the highest level in Scotland, a return to management may not hold the same appeal it once did.

As he ponders his future in the game, Scottish Rugby is now left with the prospect of finding a world-class successor who can restore Scotland's fortunes and status as a rugby nation on the global stage.



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see also
Hadden and Scotland part company
02 Apr 09 |  Scottish
Hadden non-committal over future
21 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Scots are behind Hadden - Blair
19 Mar 09 |  Scottish
Hadden to discover fate in April
18 Mar 09 |  Scottish


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