Townsend to replace Cotter as Scotland coach


The Scottish Rugby Union has confirmed Glasgow Warriors boss Gregor Townsend will replace Vern Cotter as the national team's coach in 2017.

Townsend will take over the role next June, meaning Cotter will remain in charge for Scotland's next Six Nations campaign.

Cotter, who has been Scotland's coach since 2014, will also remain at the helm for Tests against against Australia, Argentina and Georgia before the expiry of his contract.

Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson said the time is right for a new face as head coach and hailed Townsend's "vision and great professionalism".

"We will continue to work with Vern in the season ahead as we are both determined to have a successful autumn Test series and 2017 Six Nations," said Dodson.

"He has worked to bring out the best in our Scottish players and secured some notable victories along the way. No-one will forget our Rugby World Cup 2015 journey as Vern led the team to the quarter-finals and so nearly a semi-final.

"However, the board and I now believe the time is right to take the development of the national team forward with Gregor.

"Gregor's playing record as a Scotland internationalist and British Lion showed he is a man of vision and great professionalism, which he has since successfully transferred into his coaching roles, firstly with Scotland and subsequently Glasgow Warriors."

Glasgow have reached the play-offs of the Pro12 every season since former Scotland international Townsend took charge in 2012, with the 43-year-old honoured to be given the job as head coach.

"I am incredibly proud to take on the Scotland coach role at the end of the season," said Townsend. "It is a real honour to be given the responsibility of coaching the national team and I look forward to working with such an impressive group of players.

"I'd like to thank Scottish Rugby for this opportunity and also the supporters, players and staff at Glasgow Warriors for their support over the past four years. My focus is firmly on the season ahead with Glasgow and I will be doing all I can to help the club continue to progress this year."

Cotter added he is "pleased" with the progress Scotland have been able to make under his leadership in the last three years.

"The players, and my management group, have enjoyed working hard to give the fans and Scottish Rugby results and performances to be proud of," Cotter said.

"I intend to remain focused on the upcoming Autumn Internationals and remaining Scotland matches in 2017."