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Scotland flanker Roddy Grant proving a big hit for Exiles

Roddy GrantRoddy Grant has been the catalyst behind London Scottish’s rise up the Championship table this season according to head coach Peter Richards.

Last week’s 19-17 derby victory over London Welsh at Old Deer Park continued the Exiles’ upsurge in form, now unbeaten in five games after yesterday’s win over Pirates, since defence coach Grant joined under of a special agreement with Scottish Rugby.

Grant has taken charge of defence and work at the breakdown until the end of the season, leaving Richards to focus on attack and the playmaking of current halfback pairing Dan Newton and Matt Heeks.

Richards told The Rugby Paper: “Roddy has done a great job for us this last month since coming down from Edinburgh and taking over the defence.

“He has been a big difference and is really getting the guys to put some big hits both in training and in the matches.

“He has already had a great impact on us defensively, we were defensively excellent again and that was with a really physical London Welsh.

“Against Yorkshire the week before we were very physical and that is what we are trying to build, a real physical defence. With Welsh, they have big guys in the forward pack and some good runners but for the most part we nullified them.”

Former openside flanker Grant, 28, retired due to a knee injury in December and Scottish is his first full-time coaching post, having taken temporary charge of Edinburgh’s defence last season.

The south-west London club were promotion-hopefuls after reaching last season’s play-offs, but just two wins from October left them fearing relegation and they entered a performance related tie-up with the SRU on January 11.

Ex-international Sean Lineen has arrived as part-time Director of Rugby around his SRU role whilst the playing staff has been shored up with Scotland-contract players including prop Jack Cosgrove and backs Robbie Ferguson and George Horne, Test winger Rory Hughes also grabbed four tries in five appearances.

Scottish chairman Sir David Reid added: “London Scottish intends to remain a successful and ambitious Championship club. Sean Lineen and Roddy Grant will help us achieve this.”

Two morale-boosting British & Irish Cup victories against Ospreys and away to Munster ‘A’ based on solid defence were the catalyst for Scottish to beat a strong Yorkshire Carnegie side before the derby win over Welsh lifted them to mid-table safety.

LUKE JARMYN

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