Gregor Townsend to become Scotland Head Coach in June 2017

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Post by RDW on Wed 17 Aug - 22:39

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Scottish Rugby has today confirmed Glasgow Warriors Head Coach, Gregor Townsend will replace Vern Cotter as Scotland Head Coach at the end of the 2016/17 season.

Current Scotland Head Coach Vern Cotter’s contract ends in June 2017 and Scottish Rugby has announced its intention to install former Scotland internationalist Gregor Townsend into the role when his current contract with Glasgow Warriors also ends at the same time.

Townsend has been Head Coach at Guinness PRO12 side Glasgow Warriors since 2012, leading them to the play-offs in every season, culminating with his team becoming the first Scottish professional side to win the league title in 2015.

Acknowledged as one of the most respected coaches in the northern hemisphere Townsend has regularly attracted interest from teams across Europe and the southern hemisphere in recent seasons leading Scottish Rugby to move to secure his services through to 2020 as Scotland Head Coach.

Vern Cotter started as Scotland Head Coach in the summer of 2014, starting with a summer tour which saw wins over USA, Canada and Argentina. His appointment came after eight years leading ASM Clermont Auvergne in the French Top 14 league.

Under his leadership the team won the Top 14 Championship in 2010 and held a 77 game unbeaten home record between 2009-2013. Having ended his playing career in France in 1999 Cotter returned to his native New Zealand to coach Bay of Plenty in the NPC.

He then joined Super 12 side Crusaders as forwards coach between 2004-2006 where they won back to back Super Rugby titles before returning to France with Clermont.





Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson said:

Gregor’s abilities as a head coach are evident and he is increasingly becoming one of the most sought after coaches in the game.

"I have been charged with developing Scottish coaches and believe the time is now right to secure Gregor’s talents, as we build towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Vern Cotter has made a considerable impact on the development of the Scotland national side during his tenure. His rugby philosophy of setting high standards with a big emphasis on skill development has had a positive effect throughout Scottish rugby.

"He has helped instil self-belief, determination and put a lot of pride into the jersey for players and fans alike and for this, both myself, and Scottish Rugby would like to thank him for this significant contribution to the game in Scotland.

“We will continue to work with Vern in the season ahead as we are both determined to have a successful autumn test series and 2017 RBS 6 Nations.

“He has worked to bring out the best in our Scottish players and secured some notable victories along the way. No-one will forget our Rugby World Cup 2015 journey as Vern led the team to the quarter-finals and so nearly a semi-final.

“However the Board and I now believe the time is right to take the development of the national team forward with Gregor.

“Gregor’s playing record as a Scotland internationalist and British Lion showed he is a man of vision and great professionalism, which he has since successfully transferred into his coaching roles, firstly with Scotland and subsequently Glasgow Warriors.

"It is these factors which I feel will enable Scotland to continue its forward momentum, building on the strong foundations laid by Vern, with the current group of players and future Scotland internationals.”

Scottish Rugby is now undergoing a recruitment process to find a replacement for Townsend at Glasgow Warriors for the 2017/18 season.

Speaking on his appointment Gregor Townsend said:

I am incredibly proud to take on the Scotland Head Coach role at the end of the season. It is a real honour to be given the responsibility of coaching the national team and I look forward to working with such an impressive group of players.

"I’d like to thank Scottish Rugby for this opportunity and also the supporters, players and staff at Glasgow Warriors for their support over the past four years. My focus is firmly on the season ahead with Glasgow and I will be doing all I can to help the club continue to progress this year."

Scotland Head Coach Vern Cotter said:

Since taking up this role I believe we have moved forward as a group by working to execute the simple things well. Developing skillsets and mindsets has been important to help perform on the international stage.

"The focus has been to respect tradition but also perform in the present, be adaptive and innovative. I have been really pleased with the progress that has been made in all areas.

“The players, and my management group, have enjoyed working hard to give the fans and Scottish Rugby results and performances to be proud of.

“I intend to remain focused on the upcoming Autumn Internationals and remaining Scotland matches in 2017.”

Director of Rugby, Scott Johnson said: “Vern has worked hard to both enhance the skills of our existing Scotland internationals and bring a number of young players into the national team set up along the way.

"His attention to detail and focus on playing to Scotland’s strength has ensured we are a tough team to play against with a sharper attack and better defence.

“We now have an opportunity for this group of players to keep developing with Gregor with the added benefit that many of them will know his approach and have worked with him on a daily basis with Glasgow Warriors.

That continuity, and the chance for a Scottish coach to also develop will, I believe, continue to improve Scotland’s rugby across the board.”

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 19 Aug - 0:34

MacKnocked-on wrote:One unforeseen result of Townsend's promotion might be that Ryan Wilson ends up Scotland's most capped player...

Please don't. It's bad enough that's been capped at all.

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Post by MacKnocked-on on Fri 19 Aug - 0:58

funnyExiledScot wrote:
MacKnocked-on wrote:One unforeseen result of Townsend's promotion might be that Ryan Wilson ends up Scotland's most capped player...

Please don't. It's bad enough that's been capped at all.

You just know that regardless of whether Denton regains form, Du Preez & Struass tear up the Pro12 and Mitch Eadie scores twenty tries in the Aviva next season that Wilson will still be in the squad. Another question is what is Barclay's relationship with Townsend like? And Sean Lamont must think his mate Gregor getting the top job will ensure he's got another World Cup to play in before he retires.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 26 Aug - 20:23

The Barclay question is an interesting one, but I personally think that Du Preez becoming Scottish will likely push Barclay out in any case. Whilst the purists won't like it, a back row comprising Strauss, Hardie and Du Preez covers all bases really, with Harley, Watson and Denton backing up each position. You could switch Harley and Wilson if you really felt the need to pick a less good player over a better one.

Let's just see how Mitch Eadie gets on in the Jeff next season. He looks talented but rather on the small side for an international ball carrying number 8, especially when you think of Faletau, Vunipola, Picamoles and Parisse. I'd fancy Du Preez, Strauss or Denton to do a better job in that company.

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Post by sensisball on Fri 26 Aug - 23:02

The thing I find amazing about Faletau and Parisse is that they aren't that big, 113kg and 112kg respectively. Whereas Billy V weighs in at 126 kg! Their relative lack of bulk means they have the kind of footwork that genuine behemoths can only dream about, plus a change of pace that gets them out of trouble instead of having to rely on size and strength all the time.

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Post by tigertattie on Tue 30 Aug - 19:18

I'm still not impressed by Strauss at international level.

If Strauss can find his form and Hardie keeps going as he is, with Du Preez being added into the mix our backrow is looking tasty

6 Du Preez
7 Hardie
8 Strauss

The good thing is that with increased competition in the backrow, one direction Denton might get the rocket up his jacksie that he needs and he could easily be the one to displace Strauss if doesn't start living up to his hype!
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Post by George Carlin on Tue 30 Aug - 19:32

funnyExiledScot wrote:The Barclay question is an interesting one, but I personally think that Du Preez becoming Scottish will likely push Barclay out in any case. Whilst the purists won't like it, a back row comprising Strauss, Hardie and Du Preez covers all bases really, with Harley, Watson and Denton backing up each position. You could switch Harley and Wilson if you really felt the need to pick a less good player over a better one.

Let's just see how Mitch Eadie gets on in the Jeff next season. He looks talented but rather on the small side for an international ball carrying number 8, especially when you think of Faletau, Vunipola, Picamoles and Parisse. I'd fancy Du Preez, Strauss or Denton to do a better job in that company.
Pretty much agree with that.

We all need to remember that Barclay was a Glasgow player and a good club man, so I cannot see Toonie having any issue with him.

The player that will really vanish without trace now is Blair Cowan - Worcester is a town where international aspirations go to die.

Barclay has the advantage of having played 6, 7 and 8 to a good level and therefore is the perfect man to wear the 20 shirt for Scotland.

As you know, I have been a supporter of Strauss and this is his watershed season. He was flogged to death before and was never quite the same last season after he was seriously concussed about half way through. He should be 100% now, so let's see how influential he can be at league level - particularly against the likes of Cardiff who have acquired some big, ball carrying barstewards in the off season. He still has a broader skillset and I would say is more influential more often than the likes of Denton, who will doubtless be living off scraps in the blindside role with a Bath side he seems to be an uncomfortable fit for.

If Du Preez really needs the autumn to come back from the 'tidying' surgery, then that gives the current crop a chance to state their case for the 6 Nations next year.

Only Hardie is really nailed on in my opinion. In the future, something like 6. Strauss 7. Hardie 8. Du Preez 20. Barclay looks pretty good to me as a first choice loose forward combination.
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Post by RDW on Tue 30 Aug - 19:43

If Strauss has showed us anything it is that we can't get too carried away by someone's abilities at international level until we actually see them play for Scotland.

I'm a huge Du Preez fan, and think he would be a perfect fit for Scotland's troubled blindside spot, but he needs 10+ caps for Scotland before we really know if he is going to be the real deal.

As for Denton, Bath's team selections so far have had him at 6 but at least he is now being played under Blackadder - hopefully with regular gametime he can regain his mojo, even if it is at 6.

Also, hopefully Faletau will be a positive influence on him.

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Post by George Carlin on Tue 30 Aug - 22:35

RDW_Scotland wrote:
Also, hopefully Faletau will be a positive influence on him.
It definitely will. Always sitting on the bench will lower Dozer's injury count for a start.
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue 30 Aug - 22:42

George Carlin wrote:
RDW_Scotland wrote:
Also, hopefully Faletau will be a positive influence on him.
It definitely will. Always sitting on the bench will lower Dozer's injury count for a start.

It should lower his error count as well.

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Post by George Carlin on Tue 30 Aug - 23:26

funnyExiledScot wrote:
George Carlin wrote:
RDW_Scotland wrote:
Also, hopefully Faletau will be a positive influence on him.
It definitely will. Always sitting on the bench will lower Dozer's injury count for a start.

It should lower his error count as well.
Although his body position on the bench will probably still be too high and he'll drop his Gatorade at a crucial moment.
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Post by nickj on Thu 1 Sep - 23:40

Scott's been named at 13 for Glaws http://www.planetrugby.com/news/preview-gloucester-v-leicester-10/ I hope that's not a sign of things to come.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 2 Sep - 19:11

I really don't know why successive coaches keep playing Scott at 13. For me he isn't quick enough for that role and his distribution skills and offloading are far more suited to 12. That said, Twelvetrees is certainly a 10 or a 12 and not at 13, so if those are your options then I can see the logic.

Not good from a Scotland perspective. Matt Scott is a rare talent for us and so far his club career has not seen him maximise his potential at inside centre.

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Post by bsando on Fri 23 Sep - 20:04

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/37450339

I wonder if Townsend was approached by Toulon this summer?

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