Wasps and Bath in a muddle over McGeechan

Click to follow

Confusion last night surrounded the immediate future of Scotland's director of rugby Ian McGeechan. The four-times British and Irish Lions coach is wanted by both Bath and Wasps. According to Nolan Miller, Wasps' spokesman and team manager, McGeechan has been offered the job of director of rugby as successor to Warren Gatland, who leaves at the end of the season.

Confusion last night surrounded the immediate future of Scotland's director of rugby Ian McGeechan. The four-times British and Irish Lions coach is wanted by both Bath and Wasps. According to Nolan Miller, Wasps' spokesman and team manager, McGeechan has been offered the job of director of rugby as successor to Warren Gatland, who leaves at the end of the season.

But according to David Davies, the Wasps chief executive, the club are resigned to losing McGeechan to Bath. "McGeechan came here and had talks with David Davies," Miller said. "We offered him something and he has now gone away to think about it."

But yesterday Davies muddied the waters when he said: "As far as I am concerned he [McGeechan] is going to Bath."

But according to sources in the West Country two scheduled meetings between McGeechan and Bath officials have been called off and the Yorkshire-born Scot is headed for Wasps.

The deal Wasps have presented to McGeechan is believed to be over two years, and Miller added: "Although we have also talked to John Kirwan, the Italy coach, McGeechan is top of the pile.

"He has a good reputation wherever he has gone, Northampton, Scotland, the Lions. It would be nice to get our first choice, but if Bath snatch him, we would look to Kirwan."

There is every likelihood that the former All Black winger Kirwan would be free to follow Gatland because the Italian Federation is widely expected to sack him, or at least shunt him sideways, after a Six Nations whitewash.

A decision regarding Kirwan's fate has been put back by a fortnight following the death of Pope John Paul II, although reports from Italy last night suggested that the meeting will go ahead tomorrow, the day of the Papal funeral, but in Bologna, and not in Rome.

Sir Clive Woodward has asked for three top-grade referees from the International Board's A list to replace a trio of lower-standard local officials for non-Test matches during this summer's Lions tour of New Zealand.

The Lions coach has already called for neutral officials to be scrapped, instead favouring the selection of the best-available referees. Now it is understood that he wishes expressly for Australian referees to take charge of the non-Test matches on the tour.

The three Kiwi referees are Lyndon Bray, who is on the IRB B list, Bryce Lawrence, on the C list, and Gary Wise, who is not on an IRB list.

The officials to be appointed to the non-Test games can only be appointed once the referees for the Test matches are confirmed, which is one of the items on the agenda of an IRB meeting in Dublin this week.

Comments