Rugby Union: Telfer becomes Scottish supremo

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The rest of the rugby world may be abuzz with talk of professionalism and money in the game, but not Jim Telfer. In a radio interview shortly after his appointment as Scottish rugby supremo was announced yesterday, the former Scotland back-row forward stressed where he saw his role.

"I'm not in charge of the commercial side," said Telfer, who coached Scotland to the 1984 Grand Slam. "I'm involved in the playing side. Now that Duncan Paterson and Douglas Morgan have gone, I'm in charge of the team strategy."

Telfer, 55, has been given the dual roles of national coaching director and chairman of selectors by the Scottish Rugby Union, while he already holds the title of director of rugby. He forms a coaching triumvirate with the new Scottish senior coach, Richie Dixon, and his assistant, David Johnston. "I see it as a continuation of, and an extension to, what I have been doing already," said Telfer, who won 25 caps for Scotland between 1964 and 1970 as well as making eight appearances for the British Lions.

"I'm not doing the hands-on coaching, that will be done by Richie Dixon and David Johnson. I see it as a triumvirate of coaches, with Richie in the forwards and David in the backs and I will work with the two of them in playing strategy." Then, appropriately since Telfer is a former schoolmaster, he added: "I'm in charge of discipline on and off the field."

Paterson, who stepped down as team manager after the World Cup where Scotland reached the quarter-finals before being overwhelmed by Jonah Lomu and the All Blacks, was named as the new convenor of the rugby section of the SRU and he explained: "We would have hoped for a four-year appointment, but both Jim and the SRU will review it after a year."

Morgan, who retired after the World Cup, has been named as manager and chairman of selectors for the Scotland A team.

Meanwhile there were some very unprofessional noises emanating from New Zealand, where the All Blacks captain and hooker, Sean Fitzpatrick, declared that money was not the main attraction of the Kerry Packer-backed World Rugby Corporation (WRC).

"It's a very appealing proposal in terms of what it offers now and in the future to New Zealand players," Fitzpatrick said yesterday, "but if it was the money that was the only thing motivating us I, for one, would have taken the money the New Zealand Rugby Union offered me four weeks ago, which was NZ$300,000 [around pounds 125,000] to sign for one year, unconditionally. If money were the major issue I would have jumped at that because it's fantastic money, but there are other issues we have to look at."

The All Blacks yesterday met officials of the NZRFU, whose deal is backed by Rupert Murdoch, and there will be a further round of talks today, with the union chairman, Richie Guy, explaining that the talks would cover "matters of player concern" not related to contracts.

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