In June next year former Scotland and British and Irish Lions flyhalf Gregor Townsend will take on arguably his most demanding position in rugby yet, as he will take the helm of the national team. He brings great experience, and a few different methodologies.
The current Glasgow Warriors head coach will replace Vern Cotter as Scotland boss when the Kiwi’s contract runs out at the end of the current season.
It will be a return to the Scotland coaching setup for 82 capped Townsend. The Galashiels native was in charge of the backs in 2009 before being appointed as attack coach in 2012.
In 2015, Townsend guided Glasgow to their first ever PRO12 title after previously achieving two playoff spots. The step up to the top is, perhaps, a natural and deserved career progression.
Townsend will be replaced at Glasgow by Chiefs coach Dave Rennie, while Cotter’s future remains undisclosed, with possible options being a return to former club Clermont Auvergne or in his native New Zealand.
World Rugby features Townsend in an insightful video on what it takes to become a coach at the highest level. Townsend reveals that knowledge of the game plays but a small role in driving the success of a team.
“The rugby knowledge is great to have, but it is more about how you work with people and the coaching knowledge that drives the game,” Townsend said.
Aptly, Townsend honed a lot of what he knows now by spending time with Rennie’s Chiefs prior to taking on the Glasgow job in 2012. Shadowing then coach Wayne Smith, he learned how to bring team-mates together and bring in a new culture to a team.
How do you think Townsend will fare as Scotland head coach? And what now for Vern Cotter?