Memories Club – Sean Lineen (Sept 19)

Memories Club – Sean Lineen

Monday 30 September 2019

By our correspondent Hamish McIntyre

Sean Lineen was the guest speaker at the Memories Section of Linlithgow Rugby Club.

There were 48 members at the meeting.

He was born in Auckland new Zealand on 25th December 1961, a christmas present for his mother. His father is Terry Lineen,who was a prominent New Zealand rugby player. Sean started off his professional life in the police force in New Zealand. If there was any trouble he was told to “run or fight” and he was a good runner.

He played rugby at centre in the New Zealand minor teams but competition was strong and he left NewZealand in 1982. On his travels he played in France with Gallion, Blanco and Bonneval. He then came to the UK in the 1985-86 seasion playing for Pontypool, with Bobby Windsor and Eddie Butler. In 1988 he came to Scotland and played for Boroughmuir, where one of his team mates was Bruce Hay. In those days the facilities at Meggetland were fairly primitive – changing in a shed with a shower which only supplied cold water!

He met his future wife in Edinburgh and because he enjoyed the sunshine in Scotland has lived here ever since. Sean then discovered that he had a grandfather who hailed from Stornaway, which qualified him to play for Scotland, and made his intertnational debut on 21 January 1989 against Walkes at Murrayfield when he was 27. He played 29 games for Scotland scoring eight points. Of course, Sean was a key member of the Scotland Grand Slam team in 1990, playing centre alongside Scott Hastings.

After his international career, Sean divided his time between coaching Boroughmuir, when he was involved in both cup and league triumphs, and running the Scottish Rugby Magazine. He was appointed assistant coach at Glasgow Rugby, now Glasgow Warriors, for the start of the 2003/04 season, and became a member of the Scottish National coaching team under Frank Hadden in the summer of 2005, coaching the backs.

In summary, Sean’s career was:

Played 78 games for Counties in NZ
Won club championships with Bombay and Papakura
Pontypool 1985 – won championship
Boroughmuir for 8 seasons, won cup and championship
Coached Boroughmuir to Cup and league success
Coached Glasgow Warriors – twice to play offs
Scotland backs coach 2008
Scotland 20s – 2013 – 2015
Now head of Academies, National age Grade and on field Super 6

Scotland was due to play in the 2019 World Cup against Samoa later on the morning of the memories meeting, and Sean recalled the 1991 World Cup against (Western) Samoa who had a player called Samson. When you were hit by Samson you stayed hit. He also forecast the Scotland would win against Samoa and gain a bonus point.

Sean then discussed the history behind the Super Six – a six team league. It was agreed by the major teams that Scotland club rugby needed to be of a higher consistent standard and in addition our best young players all had agents and they were heading off overseas to France, Italy or England championship. Clubs were asked to come up with a plan to address those problems and eventually after rejecting some proposals, eg an eight club league, they came up with a league of six teams – the Super Six. The problem then was to pick the six teams which was far from easy – there was an application and interview process with 11 clubs who applied for Super 6. It will not be perfect but this is defintiely the way to go and is very exciting.

The logic was that if we did not have a super six then we stood to lose a lot of our best young players and coaches. The current news is that 30 players are returning to Scotland to play in the Super Six which is great for the first year. The professional game needs to have sponsors and requiires players to be paid in a reasonable and sustainable way, so that our best players and coaches remain in Scotland. Also great to have Welsh opposition to test our players and coaches further.

Because of the World Cup, the Super Six season would extend from November to March, then a cross-border competition with the 6 Welsh clubs in April and May, while the domestic season would then kick off proper in August to November.

Sean then spoke about the amatuer and professional game in Scotland. He said that for many rugby players rugby was a serious hobby and that there were so many other interests for young people nowadays.

The Super 6 will also provide experience for support staff such as Doctors, physios and nutritionalists. Our Super Six idea is being looked at by many coumtries, and Ireland are looking at how they could be involved in a few years time.

Sean told some stories about his experience in Glasgow, where the team had to share facilities with a group of pilates’ ladies, and the rugby men had to be out by 10 o’clock on the dot – or else. On one ocacasion, when Sean was trying to encourage a New Zealand player  – Lome Faatau- to join Glasgow, he brought him on a day when the sun was shining, had lunch in a nice restaurant and showed him some of the up market areas – he was very impressed, but changed his mind in November when he saw the rain and the wind and Scotstoun. By the time he returned to New Zealand he had lost all the pigment in his skin and evereyone called him Palangi – White Man.

Sean gave his analysis of how Scotland would overcome Samoa – just be patient, be strong in the set pieces, and do not play too much rugby too early. He was spot on.

After coffee and an excellent selection of cakes provided by the ladies, there was the usual question and answer session, and Bert Lawson closed the meeting by thanking Sean for a very informative and entertaining talk.