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Scotland statement: Contract extension for Gregor Townsend

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Speculation about who will coach the Scotland team after the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France ended on Tuesday morning with a statement from the SRU confirming that current head coach Gregor Townsend will stay in the role until after the 2026 Guinness Six Nations.

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There was a suggestion at the start of this year that Townsend, who has been the Scottish national team boss since the summer of 2017, would not be retained and he was linked with some roles in the French Top 14.

However, an encouraging Six Nations Scotland won three of its five matches to finish third strengthened the Townsend retention case and his deal has now been extended to cover three more Six Nations tournaments.

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A statement read: “Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has signed a contract extension which will see him lead the side up until April 2026. Townsend began his term in 2017 and has since become the longest-serving head coach of the Scotland national team in the professional era.

“After securing third place in the Guinness Six Nations this year their best finish since 2018 Scotland now have their sights set on the 2023 Rugby World Cup where they are grouped with South Africa, Ireland, Tonga and Romania.”

Townsend said: “Being head coach of Scotland is a tremendous honour and I’m excited about the potential of the current squad of players and the game they can deliver against the best teams in the world. As coaches, we have been very encouraged by the progress the team has made this season, and we believe there is much more to come from this group.

“I also feel the connection the team has with the country is special and that our supporters are backing the team like never before. The number of people who arrive two hours early to welcome the team off the bus on a home matchday demonstrates the love shown for this group of players and their belief that the squad can achieve something special.

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“Our focus right now remains on Rugby World Cup preparations, but I am delighted to have secured my future for the next few years and look forward to continuing to do all I can to drive the team forward and inspire our supporters.”

Scottish Rugby CEO Mark Dodson added: “Gregor Townsend has been the most successful Scotland coach in the history of the professional era and we believe he is the right man to lead the national team beyond this year’s Rugby World Cup. What Gregor has built over the last six years of his tenure has taken Scotland to fifth in the World rankings and we are keen to keep that continuity and forward momentum.

“The squad has unparalleled depth which is the result of many years of planned development. We believe he is best placed to take the team to the next level and continue to excite and engage the people of Scotland.”

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Nickers 2 hours ago
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Thomas 2 hours ago
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