Gregor Townsend confirms his Scotland coaching team

GREGOR Townsend has confirmed that current Glasgow Warriors colleagues Matt Taylor and Dan McFarland will have assistant coaching roles in his backroom team when he takes the Scotland reins from Vern Cotter in June.

Gregor Townsend will be supported by Matt Taylor and Dan McFarland when he assumes the Scotland job. Picture: SNS

As revealed by The Scotsman earlier this month, national attack coach Jason O’Halloran and pack chief Jonathan Humphreys will go in the other direction and team up with New Zealander Dave Rennie when he takes over at Glasgow.

There was no mention in the Scottish Rugby media releases about the future of “resource coach” Nathan Hines but he is widely expected to moving to Montpellier with Cotter next summer.

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Townsend said: “I’m delighted to confirm the support of two hard-working coaches for the future national coaching group.

“I have known Matt since our playing days and he has developed into an outstanding Defence Coach since hanging up his boots, winning Super Rugby with the [Queensland] Reds and the Pro12 while at Glasgow. He is always striving to improve and it’s great that we’ll be continue to learn together over the next few years.

“Dan has done a fantastic job since arriving at Glasgow last season, and before that in Ireland. He is able to combine forensic detail from the technical side of the game with a love of learning and looking to bring out the best in his players. He has more than lived up to the reputation that preceded him and has developed very good relationships with the players at Glasgow.

“It’s great news that he’s joining us and I’m sure he will thrive in the international arena.”

Former Edinburgh, Borders and Scotland A centre flanker Taylor has already been working with national team as defence coach in tandem with his day job at Scotstoun, where he has been at Townsend’s side since the pair joined the Warriors in 2012, steering them to the play-offs in every season, culminating with the team becoming the first Scottish professional side to win the Guinness Pro12 in 2015.

Taylor said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to continue my involvement with the national team.

“Gregor and I have known each other for a long time and have a really good understanding of each other’s coaching principles and philosophies, having developed many of them together as players a number of years ago.

“The chance to work with him professionally over the past five years at Glasgow has been great and I’m pleased that’s set to continue.

“The thing that struck us as players – and one of the reasons we got on so well – was that we were both very keen on our coaching and would often discuss drills and activities as we became excited about the next step in our careers.

“The reality of those conversations is that we’re now set to coach together for Scotland which is very exciting.

“We’ve had some success with Glasgow and hope to bring that to the national team and continue from where we are now.”

McFarland joined Glasgow as forwards coach last summer after nine seasons with Connacht and spells as Emerging Ireland, Ireland Wolfhounds and Ireland U20 coach.

He said: “I’m very excited. it’s a great honour to be asked to coach a national side and all the more so because I know many of the players who represent Scotland through my work with Glasgow.

“My experience in Ireland, with the Emerging Ireland side and the Wolfhounds, has primed me for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to stepping into the full international environment, where the intensity and condensed nature demands a step up in many areas.

“Although it’s very exciting to sign a contract to work at a national level, I – like Gregor and Matt – are focused on our day-to-day responsibility and commitment to Glasgow Warriors until the end of a very important season.”

O’Halloran joined fellow Kiwi Cotter’s team as attack coach following the 2015 World Cup and knows Rennie well, having played under him at Wellington and coaching together with Manawatu and New Zealand U20s.

Speaking to, O’Halloran said: “I’m really looking forward to coaching in the Guinness PRO12 and the European Rugby Champions Cup. They’re two great competitions and it’ll be good to get back to day-to-day coaching.

“It’s fantastic to get the opportunity to work with Dave (Rennie) again, it’s been five years since we worked together and he’s done a great job at the Chiefs.

“We both enjoy the same brand of rugby that Gregor has instilled in the mentality at Scotstoun, so there’s not going to be too much of a shift in the way the team plays.

“I’ve worked with some of the squad already (with Scotland) and have a good relationship with them. There is some really good young talent at Scotstoun and with excellent players throughout the squad we’re looking forward to having as much competition as possible.”

Former Wales forward and Ospreys coach Humphreys joined Cotter’s staff in 2013 and said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time with Scotland, working with Vern (Cotter), but I’m excited about coaching in the Guinness Pro12 again.

“I’m looking forward to having the ability to develop and work at something on a full-time basis.

“It was a big pull for me to work with quality coaches. Dave’s CV speaks for itself and I know Jason is really impressed with his outlook on the game.

“It’s great to be taking over an already successful team and I believe we can take Glasgow Warriors on to the next stage.”

Rennie, who will move to Glasgow from Waikato chiefs in June, added: “I’m really looking forward to working with both Jason and Jonathan.

“Jason and I have a lot of history. I have a huge amount of respect for him as a man and as a coach.

“Jonathan’s experience and success is impressive. He’s a great addition to our group.

“Their knowledge of and relationship with current Warriors players is a massive asset.”