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Fascinating shortlist for Scotland performance director role

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Thursday Mar 28, 2024

Scottish Rugby are in the process of naming a new Performance Director to replace the departing Jim Mallinder.

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Based on reporting in Scotland Rugby News, former Scotland captain Al Kellock and Harlequins director Tabai Matson, who is set to depart the club at the end of the season, are the front runners.

The 42-year-old Kellock won 56 caps for Scotland between 2004-2013 and played for both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Previously serving in a commercial post with Scottish Rugby, the former secondrow now works as the MD of the Glasgow Warriors.

Matson, who this week mutually agreed to step down from his role at Harlequins to focus on the women’s program from the end of the season, joined the South West London club in 2021.

The 50-year-old was a member of the All Blacks touring squads in his playing days, making five appearances but not featuring in a test, and would later play for the Fijian national team.

Beginning his coaching career in Japan back in 2005, Matson has coached all over the world, both at the club level and internationally.

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Whilst the duo are reported to be the leading candidates, it is believed there are four candidates in the running.

Harlequins Announce Immediate Coaching Change

Also included in the report is a view that a fraction within the SRU would like head coach Gregor Townsend to take over the position.

Should Townsend move into the role, it would open the head coaching role with Glasgow Warriors boss Franco Smith muted as a favourite to take over.

The former Springbok player has already coached at the test level having coached Italy between 2019 – 2021 before taking over as their head of high performance in 2021. Following his time in Italy, the former Cheetahs coach took over Glasgow in 2022 and currently has the Scottish side sitting in 3rd position on the United Rugby Championship table.

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