Scotland Under-20s head coach Sean Lineen – who suffered a personal bereavement earlier this week when his father Terry died aged 84 – has decided not to return to his native New Zealand until after the team’s crucial Six Nations clash against Italy on Friday evening.

“The funeral is next week, so it is good timing from Dad,” explained the coach. “I can go back next week and be back here in time for the France game [a fortnight later].”

The decision to make the game his immediate priority should not be viewed as any sort of slight, rather a recognition that it is exactly what Lineen senior – who is widely regarded as one of the greatest New Zealand rugby players of the late 1950s – would have wanted and expected.

“In one of the newspapers [in New Zealand] he was called the rock-star of the fifties,” explained Lineen junior. “He loved his rugby and was a massive influence on me.

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“I think I was quite wild when I was young, and he had his hands full with me through my teens and so on. He challenged me when he needed to, and he was a big supporter as well. He was a really passionate man – loved his sport, loved my wife and my two boys, and was just a great guy with a great sense of humour.”

Terry made his All Black debut as a 20-year-old in 1957 and went on to play 35 games for his country, including 12 Test matches, before being forced into retirement at just 24 years of age due to a shoulder injury.

“He was a good All Black – a great All Black – named in a lot of World XVs, and top try scorer on every tour he went on,” said the proud son.

“And we used to have some great parties at the house in the mid-60s with all these All Black legends there – Wilson Whineray, Colin Meads, Waka Nathan – all around the house listening to Neil Diamond. That’s why I am a big fan of Neil Diamond – because of Dad.”

Lineen junior arrived on these shores to play club rugby with Boroughmuir in the late 1980s and having discovered a Scottish qualification through a Hebridean grandfather he earned the first of his 29 caps in 1989. He was a member of the 1990 Grand Slam team.