Dave Rennie has insisted that his decision to renew his Glasgow contract for only a year was based on family considerations rather than an interest in taking charge of the Australian national team, and that he might yet be open to agreeing a longer stay at Scotstoun. Speaking after the extension to June 2020 was announced, the Warriors head coach also revealed that he will lead a smaller coaching group next season, with a replacement due to come in for Jonathan Humphreys but not for Mike Blair.
Rennie has been mooted as a potential successor to the outgoing Michael Cheika as head coach of the Wallabies, and a move there would see him reunited with Scott Johnson, the SRU’s former director of rugby who now occupies the equivalent post in Australia. But while the Australians do not have major playing commitments between the end of the World Cup in the autumn and the expiry of Rennie’s new Glasgow contract in the middle of next year, the head coach himself suggested they would want a replacement for Cheika to be in place before then.
“It’s speculation and I’d imagine that they’ll appoint someone new post-World Cup,” the New Zealander said of the talk linking him to the Wallabies.
“I’m committed here to the middle of 2020 and I won’t walk away from my contract here. I’m not even sure what their schedule is, but I’d imagine they’ll go straight into something.
“Normally a northern team’s touring down that way and then they have the Rugby Championship, so that [waiting for him] would be pretty difficult.
“I’m not too worried about speculation, because every time there’s a job up certain names get bandied about. We never sat around and talked about a multi-year deal or extension. I was happy to extend for 12 months based on where we were at – this was quite a long time ago – and could extend beyond that. The biggest challenge for us being over this way is being away from grandkids and kids and so on. We committed for one year and then will be in a position where we’ll make a decision whether we need to head closer to home or whether we’re prepared to stay here longer.”
While Rennie is staying for 15 months at least, there will be a new-look coaching team at Scotstoun next season, as Blair will work full-time with Scotland while Humphreys is leaving for Wales. Rennie explained that he will resume the responsibilities as attack coach which Blair has been handling, and that a replacement for Humphreys is in the pipeline and will join himself, Kenny Murray and Jason O’Halloran in the group.
“We’ve known that Humps is leaving and we’ve known about Mike for a while. Mike’s great. We spend a big chunk of the year without him, so we’re not actually going to replace him, so we’ll go with four coaches. I imagine we’ll get Mike in a little bit – because of his Scotland connections he’ll come in to work with the nines.
“We’ve got someone to replace Humps who we think’s going to be great. He’s not easy to replace, he’s done a fantastic job with our pack. I don’t like talking positively about him in the media because he gets excited by that sort of stuff, but he’s an excellent forward coach and Wales are lucky to grab him.”
Meanwhile, Huw Jones could come into contention for Glasgow’s game at Leinster on Saturday provided he comes through training on Thursday. The Scotland centre has been out of action since injuring a knee while playing against Ireland in February.
Adam Hastings will also be available for the Pro14 match in Dublin despite a shoulder knock, while Callum Gibbins, who has been out following concussion, will be rested this week but is expected to be passed fit for the game against Edinburgh at the end of the month.