St Ives rugby coach named Finland national boss

ST IVES head coach Alan Hine has been named the new coach of the Finland national rugby union team.

ST IVES head coach Alan Hine has been named the new coach of the Finland national rugby union team.

The 60-year-old, who had been assisting ex-coach and St Ives flanker Lee Bolger in recent months, beat a host of other candidates to land the top job.

Although Hine certainly has a tough job on his hands with Finland, still a vastly inexperienced country in world rugby terms, and who are rock bottom (84th) in the current IRB world rankings.

He told The Hunts Post this week: “I’m hugely honoured to have been offered the role, which came about through a bit of luck to be honest.

“Lee Bolger came over to St Ives at the start of the season as he was looking for somewhere to play, as he had just moved to the area.

“It turned out he was the Finnish head coach and he asked me if I’d be prepared to give him a hand and I’ve been across a couple of times since.

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“Then, due to work commitments, he had to resign the position and he recommended me to the Finnish Rugby Federation.

“They advertised the position and I believe got quite a few applicants, but they decided to go with me.”

But, although being coach of an international rugby union team sounds like the dream ticket, Hine admitted it would be a far cry from stardom – for all involved.

He said: “The thing to understand is that, when it comes to Finnish rugby union, there is absolutely no money.

“The players have to pay for their own kit, transport and training camps. It’s all self funded and I admire their dedication.

“My role is unpaid although they will pay my expenses now that I’m head coach - but they didn’t while I was assisting.

“The aim is simply is try and get up the rankings but, more importantly, develop the game in Finland, as it’s still relatively new.

“Compared with over here the players are incredibly inexperienced, but that starts at a very young age.

“In Finland, they don’t tend to play much rugby at school - or at university - so they only join a domestic club much later on.

“I understand they are going to appoint someone Finnish to assist me, which will aid that development further.”

Hine has agreed a contract until 2012, once their five-team tournament also including Bulgaria, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Greece - which runs on a two-year cycle - reaches its climax.

He also says he will continue to coach St Ives during the week, but weekend availability will become limited, with his time increasingly being taken up with Finland’s training camps and matches.?