1876 Cardiff Rugby
Do Whatever it Takes to Get Geech!
By Andrew Collins
April 18 2012


Ian McGeechan

Following yesterday’s announcement that the Cardiff Blues will be seeking a new Director of Rugby, theArmsPark.co.uk makes the case that Sir Ian McGeechan is exactly the man the Blues need to drag us out of the current mess...

It’s been a bad year. 

 

Off the pitch, Casey Laulala and Gethin Jenkins head a worrying list of 12 first team players who will be leaving at the end of the season - a number which could increase should Alex Cuthbert accept a £1million pound contract from Racing Metro - while the less said about Gavin Henson, the better.

 

On the pitch, performances have gotten progressively worse all season culminating in a run of 5 straight defeats, the previous 3 of which have seen a total score of 98-18 (11 tries to 0) in the opponents favour.

 

That, in turn, has seen dwindling crowd numbers at the Cardiff City Stadium amid genuine fears over financial chaos at the region as well as a lack of good feeling towards the Blues new ‘home’.

 

We are at a major crossroads in the history and future of the Cardiff Blues. What happens in the next 12 months could make or break the region, and the new Director of Rugby will have an immense role to play in getting the club back on track.

 

That is why I believe the Cardiff Blues board must do everything they possibly can to get Sir Ian McGeechan.

 

Going into next season, the Blues squad will be younger, less experienced and, by all accounts, weaker than the past few years. The core of players who served the team so well under Dai Young are all on their way out, and left behind is a young group of players, hungry to prove themselves at regional level.

 

What they will need is a true leader, someone to look up to and to help them become the best that they can be. Someone who has proved, both on and off the pitch, that they are the real deal. A coach who can breathe life and passion back into the Cardiff jersey, and get the team playing a brand of rugby which enables fans to enjoy the game.

 

Geech ticks all those boxes. As a Lions player and coach, he is a man who commands respect and who would help inspire the young group we will have next year. Internationally, he won the Grand Slam with Scotland in 1990 and led the Lions in 1989, 1993, 1997, 2005 and 2009. Domestically, he was in charge during London wasps’ most successful period, winning the EDF Cup in his first season in charge, then claiming the Heineken Cup a year later in 2007.

 

He is a man who has played and coached at the very top level and is respected throughout the rugby world. He has a strong reputation for developing environments in which talented, diverse, individual players can flourish.

 

The Leeds-born former Scotland fly half has most recently presided over a poor spell at Bath rugby. He has taking some criticism in England for his reign, however McGeechan defended the role he played in the past 2 years at the West Country club;

 

“My role was to set up team structures and offer advice on Bath’s new training facility here at Farleigh House. I’m happy with how it’s gone. The culture is good now. You should see the results over the next two or three years.”

 

These days, Geech takes less of a hands-on role and instead oversees coaching in a similar way to Warren Gatland. He is a modern Director of Rugby. I believe he would easily slot into the current Blues set up and, as well as getting the best out of a talented group of young players, he could also help Gareth Baber and Justin Burnell become more complete coaches.

 

Geech could well be tempted to the Blues too, having worked with Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny during the last lions tour, while also having strong links with Wales coaches Rob Howley and Shaun Edwards – both of whom he worked with for years at Wasps.

 

If Geech has any desire to attempt one final job before giving up coaching, the Cardiff Blues must do everything they possibly can to convince him that this is the one.

 

However, I fear the Blues have lost the ambition to attempt such an inspired acquisition.