Townsend extends deal as Scotland head coach

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend is set to lead his country into Rugby World Cup 2023 after signing a new contract for a further two years.

By Ralph Mellon
Thursday, 10th December 2020, 12:55 pm
Gregor Townsend (picture by Alwyn Johnston)
Gregor Townsend (picture by Alwyn Johnston)

The former Gala, Scotland and British & Irish Lions ace took on the Scotland role in 2017 and becomes Scotland’s longest serving head coach of the professional era with this extension to his current agreement.

Townsend, also a former Glasgow Warriors head coach has been at the helm for 40 Tests at the conclusion of the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup, with 22 victories and a draw equating to a 55 per cent win quotient to date, and had previously taken Scotland to its highest place in the world rankings of fifth in 2017-18 season.

The 47-year-old has restructured the Scotland coaching group following Rugby World Cup 2019, laying the foundations for a five-match unbeaten run during 2020.

Under Townsend in 2019, Scotland also retained the Calcutta Cup for the first time since 1983, after victory over England in 2018 at BT Murrayfield and a thrilling 38-38 draw at Twickenham the following year.

On the new deal, he said: “I am honoured and privileged to have been given the opportunity to continue in my role as Scotland head coach. I will be doing all I can, alongside an outstanding support staff, to improve the team as we build towards Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.

“Over the past year, I believe we have made progress on and off the field, which give real grounds for optimism around what this team can achieve.

“I know how much our supporters want the team to do well and the backing for the team has been fantastic, especially during the difficulties of the past year with Covid, knowing how much of a lift the country gets when the national team is successful.

“We have a very talented and hard-working group of players, with growing depth in a number of positions. We will be putting all our efforts into unlocking that potential and helping our players deliver their best performances when they come together for our future campaigns.”

Scottish Rugby chief executive, Mark Dodson, said: “I am really pleased we can continue to have Gregor lead the Scotland team over the next couple of years and into the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

“I’ve been impressed with how Gregor has re-focused his approach over the last 12 months following the disappointing results at the RWC 2019 and believe he is the right man to continue an anticipated upward trajectory of this group of players and coaches.

“International rugby has never been such a competitive arena and Scottish Rugby is determined to keep pace with other nations and having a talented and respected coach like Gregor on board is an important factor in helping us achieve that.”