IN 1986, Kevin Greene toured Argentina with the reserve All Black

squad. In 1987, he was an All Black on their tour to France and Italy.

He went on to coach his beloved Waikato, who beat Otago 40-5 to win

the 1992 national championship, and the following year came his side's

historic win over Gavin Hastings' Lions, and a win over Auckland to

seize the Ranfurly Shield, New Zealand's prestigious provincial

challenge trophy. Auckland had been undefeated in their 64 previous

defences of the title.

My New Zealand rugby magazine tells me that some of his charges in

Waikato rate him as their biggest influence in life.

Now, he's at Glasgow Accies. Get back on your chairs. It seems to have

passed the attention of many people in Scotland, but one of the world's

top coaches is coaching one of Scotland's second-division clubs, as well

as helping out at Greenock Wanderers, Clydebank, and Glasgow Academy.

Why? He was midway through watching the Rangers-Celtic game -- his son

Andrew is now already a staunch Rangers supporter so dad backs Celtic --

and he was forthright. ''I suppose that it's a good chance for me,

partly to get away from the pressures that come with coaching a side

like Waikato,'' he said ''Back home the media attention is just like it

is for the football managers in this country. There is endless

speculation. It's good to get away from that.''

''But more than that, I want the challenge, and I want the challenge

of full-time rugby. There's so much to do.''

He helps Bill MacDonald at the Accies, who he rates highly, and word

has it that his impact has been subtle but immense. He's not a loud

''This is the way we do it back home'' type. Rather, for instance, the

changes he has brought about are in rugby's minutiae, including the way

backs pass. He demands they run upright, elbows in to the waist, when

they give and take the ball, and they are to pass high.

The reason? An upright player doesn't need to break his stride pattern

as he receives a ball, unlike one that has been taught to give and take

a ball at waist height and whose hands will interfere with his lifting

knees. And the eyes can remain on the opposition.

I like that stuff. I remember Bill Dickinson teaching me that on the

No.8 pickup, the right hand came down on the ball first to steady it,

and the left hand scooped it. The opposing scrum half couldn't see the

right hand so it gained time. I also remember reading a book by Ivan

Vodanovich, an old Wellington coach, who said that the most powerful

driving position for a forward was with his legs together, not apart.

Even in a scrum, and he was right.

Greene has that kind of knowledge, he is an expert coach of

threequarter play. He has a four-year contract here in Scotland, and so

much to do, and less experienced coaches than him have been put off by

the ''Glasgow malaise'' before. Players don't turn up on time at

training, sometimes they don't even turn up at all.

''It can be difficult at this time of year when you get only 10 or 12

of your firsts at training for a fortnight, and I think that's the

biggest challenge of all, to change the training and playing habits of

players and youngsters,'' he says ''But I am enjoying it, and the rugby

people are good.''

Perhaps the difference between the Scottish approach and that of

Greene was illustrated when he was told, by a member of another club in

Scotland, that they, too, were having trouble with numbers at training.

''No problem,'' said Greene ''Back home we just get another lot in and

leave the existing ones out.''

Yet he does have one overriding philosophy on the game. ''At Waikato

the emphasis was on enjoyment, and involvement. Everybody had an input

on the team, and the more we enjoyed it the more we won, the more we won

the more we enjoyed it. None of us was making a million dollars out of

rugby after all. Rugby is the kind of game that requires a commitment,

and I want players to have dedication and fun.''

In New Zealand, it transpires, the wives, girlfriends, and mothers of

the players are as welcome and as big a part of club and county rugby as

their men. The men travel to an away game, the women too. The men go to

the post-match dinner, the women too. Hear, hear.

His itinerary is arduous. He is out four nights at various clubs, does

two hours each afternoon at the school, goes to two games on a Saturday,

and attends mini-rugby on Sundays. Now that is commitment.

But so far nobody outside the clubs involved in the deal has been

making use of Greene's talents. He may well be very busy, but it would

be fair to assume that Greene would be available for others to consult

should they wish. ''First I'd like to make an impact on what I'm doing,

and then consider a higher level if anyone asked me,'' says Greene.

''But for now I see a big enough challenge.''

Greene is undoubtedly one of the best coaches in the world. We are a

country which, thanks to Jim Telfer, is willing to learn from everyone

whether it be gridiron or Rugby League. Perhaps it won't be long before

we start to learn from someone on our own doorstep. If we don't, we may

well be mugs.