All of Scottish Rugby’s key coaching positions have been secured with the news that national team assistants Matt Taylor and Jonathan Humphreys have extended their contracts.
The SRU confirmed yesterday that Scotland defence coach Taylor and forwards coach Humphreys had both signed new contracts which will see them remain with the national team until the summer of 2017, along with head coach Vern Cotter, new backs coach Jason O’Halloran and resource coach Nathan Hines.
In recent weeks the pro-teams, Edinburgh and Glasgow, also tied up their head coaches, Alan Solomons and Gregor Townsend, until the end of the 2016-17 season.
Cotter said: “Keeping both Jonathan and Matt involved is very good news for the national team, and for the development of future Scotland players.
“They are good people who have contributed a great deal towards the standards we set and the style we play, continually offering new and innovative ways to raise the bar for the Scotland team.”
Ex-Edinburgh, Borders and Scotland A centre Taylor returned in 2012 to take up a dual role as assistant coach to both Glasgow Warriors and the national team, a year after helping the Queensland Reds lift the Super Rugby title. He was part of the coaching team which led the Warriors to a historic Guinness Pro12 title win last season.
Taylor said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with the national team and I feel that we’ve made massive strides in all the areas of our play.
“Our performances in the Rugby World Cup are a really good example of how this team is moving forward and I think there are bigger and better things ahead as we target the RBS Six Nations over the coming years.”
Former Wales hooker and captain Humphreys arrived in Scotland in the summer of 2013 following a successful seven-year spell with Ospreys.
As well as his national team commitments, Humphreys is also involved with the new BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy system and said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time in the role and it’s great to extend my contract because there’s bags of potential in this team. Over the next 18 months or so I believe we’ll really start to see this team realise that potential; and it’ll be hugely satisfying to be part of something that could be quite special.”
In May it was announced that Duncan Hodge would move to assist Solomons at Edinburgh following the World Cup and highly-rated Kiwi coach O’Halloran has now taken on the Scotland backs coach role.
Hines, who joined the Scotland set-up on a two-year contract after retiring from playing, has a wide-ranging role which includes working with the national team, age-grade sides, academies and Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Now that the coaching positions have been locked in, attention will turn to settling the futures of the pro-teams’ playing staff. The situation at Edinburgh is particularly acute with 32 players in their 45-man squad out of contract at the end of the season.
Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson, said: “We’re delighted to have secured the services of Jonathan and Matt who contribute a great deal to the improved performances of the Scotland team, and Scottish rugby as a whole. The continuity secured by keeping quality coaches in post – combined with adding fresh ideas through the appointment of Jason O’Halloran – will allow us to continue to drive forward the performances of Scotland’s professional and representative teams.”