Sir Ian McGeechan returns to rugby – to guide George Ford’s brother at Doncaster Knights

Sir Ian McGeechan
Sir Ian McGeechan is one the most experienced minds in world rugby - Telegraph Sport/Sir Ian McGeechan

Sir Ian McGeechan, the British and Irish Lions icon and Telegraph Sport columnist, has joined Doncaster Knights as consultant director of rugby.

McGeechan will bring his extensive experience in the game to “mentor and assist” head coach Joe Ford, the brother of England fly-half George, in his new role.

Doncaster are currently sitting second in the second-tier table, 12 points adrift of Ealing Trailfinders despite having played one more game than the runaway Championship leaders.

Just last week, Steve Boden announced his shock departure from the position of Knights director of rugby and left with the message that he viewed the sport as a whole, and the Championship particularly following Rugby Football Union funding cuts, as “unsustainable”.

“You can’t go up [to the Premiership], because if you do you have to meet all these regulations,” Boden told the Yorkshire Post. “You’ve got to play a two-legged play-off final against a team with seven or eight times more resources than you, then if you do go up you get half the funding of everyone else and it will cripple the club financially to go up and try to compete.

“The governing body are making it that way. It used to be a case of ‘this is hard’. Now it’s a question of ‘why?’. And that’s the question I faced – why am I doing it?

“At the moment there’s too much uncertainty around professional rugby. I’ve witnessed that, having gone through administration [while at Leeds four years ago]. You’re constantly waiting to see what the RFU want to do, but I’ve been waiting for that for 12 years and at some point you’ve got to put yourself first.”

Boden stressed that Steve Lloyd, the president of Doncaster Knights, was a “passionate” individual running the club well. Lloyd himself voiced his optimism over the appointment of McGeechan.

“After a relationship spanning a number of years, during which we have both fought, with others, for the betterment of Championship rugby, together with our mutual passion for Yorkshire rugby, Ian, or ‘Geech’ to all who know him, very willingly agreed to come and give us a hand creating the future at Castle Park,” Lloyd said.

“We continue to be focused on development at Doncaster Knights, whether that be players, coaches or the club itself, and I cannot think of a better mentor for head coach Joe Ford or a better font of knowledge for the whole team and the club’s development generally.”