Wasps have confirmed that their new forwards coach Danny Wilson is not taking up his role with the club and will be joining the Scottish set-up instead
In a statement Wasps said “With regret, Wasps confirm they have reached agreement with Scottish Rugby to release Danny Wilson from his coaching contract to take up a similar role within the Scotland national set-up.”
“This is a big disappointment for us”, Director of Rugby Dai Young said.
“In addition, the timing could not be much worse. Finding someone of Danny’s quality and experience who is available at this time of year to supplement our existing coaching team is a difficult proposition.
“Disappointing as this is, I understand that the opportunity to coach a tier one international side through to and beyond the World Cup would always be difficult to turn down as opportunities like this do not come around very often.
“I believed Danny’s experience would have been a big help to me on the training pitch.
“Nonetheless, I am confident that Lee Blackett, Andy Titterrell and Ian Costello will do a good job and continue to help me move us forward.”
Scotland were on the hunt for a replacement for Dan McFarland, who has left to take over as head coach at Ulster.
Wilson spent three years at Cardiff Blues and his stock rose dramatically following an impressive finish to the season by the Cardiff Blues which saw them clinch the European Rugby Challenge Cup last month in Bilbao.
Scotland Head Coach, Gregor Townsend, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to secure Danny’s services and would like to thank Wasps and Dai Young [Wasps Director of Rugby] for enabling that to happen.
“Danny has a lot of technical knowledge around the scrum, the lineout and the contact area, which is primarily the role he’ll perform in our coaching set-up. He also brings much more to our group through his experience as a Head Coach at senior club level and U20 level, helping teams and individuals reach their potential.
“We’re coming into a period where we’ll have more time with the players, particularly in the build-up to Rugby World Cup 2019, and I believe he’ll have a really positive impact on an already really good group of forwards and continue to make that a strength for Scotland.
“He’s someone I’ve got to know over the past few years and I am looking forward to seeing him working with our coaches and leading players.”
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Danny Wilson explained his reasons for making the switch.
“To coach international rugby and go to a Rugby World Cup is obviously the pinnacle of the sport and the goal of most professional coaches. It was therefore a huge honour to be identified by Scotland and offered this role”, he said.
“This has obviously been a little unexpected and happened very quickly, so I’d like to thank Dai Young and Wasps for their consideration and understanding of this situation and wish them the very best of luck for the future.
“I think Scotland have made huge strides in recent years and play an exciting brand of rugby, with an ever-growing, quality player base. I’m really looking forward to working with and learning from Gregor [Townsend] and the rest of the staff and players in Scotland.”
Wilson’s move to Wasps was announced back in December with Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young saying at the time “While I have only worked with Danny for a limited time when he was part of the Academy set-up at Cardiff Blues, I know he has gone on to forge a very strong reputation as a quality coach who is highly regarded within the game, having made a big impact with the teams he’s worked with.
Wilson meanwhile had spoken enthusiastically about working alongside Young.
“The opportunity to work with Dai was one of the big attractions of moving to Wasps. He is a very experienced director of rugby and I could see the quality of his coaching during his time at Cardiff Blues. His record with Wasps goes before him, having taken the squad from 11th place to the Premiership Final during his time at the club.
“I’m looking forward to learning from him as a coach next season and to being part of the infrastructure Wasps are creating. The ambition of the club is clear to see. They have a talented group of players who play a really exciting style of rugby that attracts big crowds. It will be exciting to be part of.”
But it appears the opportunity to work at international level and a World Cup on the horizon, has prompted a change of heart by Wilson.