The improving fortunes and growing stature of Glasgow Warriors have convinced head coach Sean Lineen to turn down substantial offers from elsewhere to remain at Firhill for the foreseeable future.
Lineen guided the Warriors to the inaugural Magners League Play-Offs last season and it is no surprise that other clubs have courted his services.
The New Zealand-born former Scotland international received a least two offers from non-Magners League sides but has instead decided to carry on his good work with Glasgow.
“I’ve been flattered about a couple of offers I’ve had, but I’m passionate about Scottish rugby, passionate about Glasgow rugby and having seen what’s been built up over the past few years and had the satisfaction of seeing a record 14 guys involved in the Scottish squad,” Lineen told the Herald.
“I’m really excited. We’ve seen the supporters get passionate about Glasgow too and seen Firhill become a place that people like to go and watch winning rugby on a Magners League weekend.
“This season we finished third in the league; we had the highest points for; we had three players in the Magners League Dream team – John Barclay, Al Kellock and Dan Parks; we had the two convincing wins over Edinburgh to win the 1872 Cup; and we had the best away record in the league with four wins, two draws and three losses, which is unbelievable.
“Expectation has been raised. Excitement has been raised. That’s what you want.”
There’s been plenty of winning rugby for the Warriors faithful to watch in recent months as Lineen’s men secured a third-place finish in the Magners League table with 11 victories in 18 attempts.
And importantly for Lineen, the original Kilted Kiwi believes there is even better to come.
They may be losing star fly-half Parks to Cardiff Blues and blindside Kelly Brown to Saracens next term, but the Warriors are developing an exciting young squad that Lineen is confident can keep on challenging for Magners League honours for many years to come.
And while Lineen admits that the club won’t be signing any massive names this summer, he will definitely be adding to his squad before September.
“We haven’t finished signing players,” added Lineen.
“It’s been well documented that we’re down the low end of the food chain when it comes to money, but you can’t make excuses and it’s all about boxing clever.
“We look at our squad that’s matured and some of our players feel it’s time to move on. I’m delighted we’ve kept the players we’ve got, though. They have stayed because they want to win something with Glasgow.
“We’ve got existing class acts like Barclay, whom I’ve seen grow into a world-class player and Kellock, who has grown into a world-class leader and others are going to have to become leaders. Ruaridh Jackson is going to have to mature and take the mantle, and I think Duncan Weir is an outstanding prospect.
“Graeme Morrison already takes a lot of responsibility but needs to take another step up and Rob Dewey needs to show the world what the real Rob Dewey can do. We’ve got Moray Low, who’s 25 now and is maturing into a really good tighthead prop so he needs to show it.
“Johnnie Beattie and Richie Vernon are also classic cases, but they are young. We’ve got 16 players under the age of 24 and no-one in the back-row over 25. And they’re all Scottish too.
“We have the spine of our team, the hookers we’ve got, Low developing, Kellock and Richie Gray in the second row, Beattie, Vernon, Barclay in the back-row . . . Chris Cusiter, Morrison, Max Evans, Bernie Stortoni, DTH van der Merwe. We’ve still got a lot of talent and you’ve got youngsters like Dave McCall and Peter Horne, Peter Murchie. These are good players and it’s now their turn to create something special.
“Can we finish in the top three again? Yes. We’ve replaced experience with energy. This is the beginning of a new chapter.”