Gregor Townsend to replace Vern Cotter as Scotland boss next year

Glasgow Warriors head coach will assume the role next June

Gregor Townsend

Image: David Davies / PA Archive/Press Association Images

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

Cotter’s contract ends in June 2017 and Scottish Rugby said it would appoint former Scotland international Townsend into the role when his current contract with Glasgow Warriors at the same time.

Townsend has been head coach at Warriors since 2012 and led them to the play-offs in every season every year of his time in charge. He led them to victory as the first Scottish team to claim the title in 2015.

"Gregor’s abilities as a head coach are evident and he is increasingly becoming one of the most sought after coaches in the game," said Scottish Rugby chief executive, Mark Dodson.

"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.

He continued: "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."

Speaking of the news, Townsend expressed his delight at the appointment and thanked the organisation for the opportunity.

"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's head coach Vern Cotter ahead of their Six Nations rugby union international match at Murrayfield stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland, Sunday, March 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

Vern Cotter added: "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."