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French reports claim Gregor Townsend applied for role with France

By Ian Cameron
Gregor Townsend /PA

Reports in France have claimed that current Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has applied for a role as an assistant coach for France following the Rugby World Cup.

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According to Midi Olympique, the 49-year-old was among a number of candidates bidding to take charge of the attack at Fabien Galthie’s side.

Galthie is currently seeking out a new attack coach for Les Bleus to replace Laurent Labit following the flagship tournament later this year. Townsend, whose contract with Scottish Rugby comes to an end following the tournament, apparently ‘presented his candidacy’ to the FFR.

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Stade Français head coach Gonzalo Quesada also applied for the position.

The news came after headlines around new  Toulon head coach Pierre Mignoni being pursued by Galthie for the role lead to an emergency meeting between club owner Bernard Lamaitre and Mignoni this week. Galthie wanted Mignoni to join Stade Francais forwards Laurent Sempéré in a new look coaching ticket.

The upshot of the meeting is that Mignoni has committed to Toulon and will honour his contract which ends in 2026.

By the end of the 2023 Rugby World Townsend will have been in charge for six years, having taken over the reins from Vern Cotter in 2017, and he seems to making plans for his post-Murrayfield coaching career.

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The former Glasgow Warriors Head Coach has been at the helm for over 60 Tests and had previously taken Scotland to its highest place in the world rankings of fifth in the 2017/18 season.

In 2021 Townsend took charge of the British & Irish Lions’ attack for the tour of South Africa. It was the first time the former Scottish playmaker was part of a Lions coaching team, having previously toured South Africa triumphantly as a player in 1997.

Townsend made six appearances for the Lions during that tour, scoring two tries against the Sharks and Northern Transvaal. The Scotsman also started the first two Tests at outside half as the Lions secured an historic series victory over the Springboks on what proved to be Townsend’s sole Tour.

In the 1999 Five Nations Championship, Townsend became the first Scotsman since 1925 to score a try against every other country as Scotland were crowned champions. Overall, he made 82 appearances for Scotland and scored 164 points while he spent his club career playing in Scotland, England, France and South Africa.

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Townsend’s not the only one looking to make a move, indeed some of his own coaching staff have already made theirs, with Scottish Rugby today confirming that AB Zondagh has left the set-up. He is reportedly set to join Lyon.

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