New Glasgow Warriors coach: What they are looking for, Jim Mallinder role, who are candidates and potential for more transfers

Glasgow Warriors’ search for a new coach has begun in earnest as the club looks to move on from the Danny Wilson era.

Glasgow Warriors have begun the search for a new head coach to replace Danny Wilson.  (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Glasgow Warriors have begun the search for a new head coach to replace Danny Wilson. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Wilson was sacked on Monday in the wake of the 76-14 hammering by Leinster, Glasgow’s fifth defeat in a row.

The season-ending result means Scottish Rugby’s powerbrokers have time to get the new appointment right as they seek to revive the club’s fortunes.

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Mark Dodson, the SRU chief executive, explains here what they are looking for.

Huw Jones is rejoining Glasgow after a season at Harlequins. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Who are the key figures in the search for a new coach?

Dodson will inevitably have the final say but the SRU chief was keen to stress he is not the sole driver. Al Kellock, the Glasgow Warriors MD, will be involved although Dodson suggested that Jim Mallinder, Scottish Rugby’s performance director, could be the most significant voice.

“It is a collaboration,” said Dodson. “Sometimes it’s clearly a responsibility for the club but Jim Mallinder will be heavily involved and I will have my input as well and we have to make sure we can attract the right candidate.”

What are Glasgow looking for and what do they need?

JP du Preez will move from Sale Sharks to Glasgow Warriors for next season. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Speaking before the Leinster game, Wilson suggested that 80 per cent of Glasgow’s season had been good and it was only the final 20 per cent that had let them down. There’s some truth in that; the Warriors were third in the URC in April and had achieved some notable results, including a home win over Exeter Chiefs in Europe and league victories against Edinburgh, Munster, Lions and Sharks (all at Scotstoun).

But Wilson paid the price for Glasgow’s atrocious away form. They won only twice in the league on the road and ended up eighth. They also picked up an unwanted reputation as a “60-minute team” – good for the first hour but unable to see out the big games.

The new coach will need to address those two major flaws, working largely with the same group of players. Dodson is confident that there will be plenty of interest, saying the Glasgow vacancy is “a job that will attract some of the best talent around”.

Why the new coach won’t be John Dalziel – despite impressive credentials

Stuart Lancaster has an impressive coaching pedigree but could Glasgow prise him away from Leinster? (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

John Dalziel has been mentioned in dispatches as a candidate following his impressive work as Scotland forwards coach. Wilson came from the same background but Dodson said he would be reluctant to disrupt the national side’s coaching team.

“We have a World Cup coming up and we are making sure that that group will stick together,” said Dodson. “We are not in a position to say there is a World Cup coming up in 2023 and we will break up that team to replace Danny.”

Who are the candidates?

Stuart Lancaster is an early frontrunner and it is easy to see the appeal. The former England coach – who played age-grade rugby for Scotland – is hugely experienced and has played a big part in Leinster’s success, working as a senior coach under Leo Cullen.

SRU chief executive Mark Dodson will have the final say on the new coach. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS

The questions are whether he could be tempted back to frontline coaching after a bruising experience with England; does the Glasgow gig hold enough appeal and are the SRU prepared to cough up?

Other names under consideration are expected to include Dan McFarland, the Ulster coach and former Glasgow and Scotland assistant, and perhaps McFarland’s forwards coach in Belfast, Roddy Grant, formerly of Edinburgh and Scotland A.

Of the internal candidates, Kenny Murray may hold some appeal. He works under Mallinder in the recently created role of ‘Head of Player Transition’ which includes taking charge of Scotland Under-20s and has a long association with rugby in the Glasgow district.

Recruitment – who have Glasgow signed for next season?

The club have already announced four new arrivals.

South African JP du Preez is joining from Sale Sharks. The 6ft 10in second row became the tallest player to play in Super Rugby when he made his Lions debut in 2015 and the 27-year-old later played for Cheetahs before joining Sale in 2020.

The Tongan international No 8 Sione Vailanu will move north from Worcester Warriors. Vailanu, also 27, previously had spells at Saracens and Wasps.

South African lock forward Sintu Manjezi has agreed a deal to move to Glasgow from Bulls. The 6ft 6in 27-year-old can also play at blindside flanker and won the Currie Cup with Blue Bulls last season.

Glasgow’s fourth recruit is Huw Jones, who is rejoining after a season with Harlequins. The versatile Scotland international can play centre or full-back and enjoyed a strong second half of the season with the English champions. The 28-year-old returns on a “multi-year contract”.

Dodson said: “We have done a good piece of recruitment there so whoever comes in and takes over will have a strong squad of international players to pick from.”

Will the new coach be able to bring in more new players?

Yes, according to Dodson. “We are always in the market for good players,” he said. “If players come up and we feel it is right for the club then we will look at it.”

Can the new regime restore Glasgow’s swashbuckling style – and should they?

Critics will say Glasgow lost their identity under Wilson but there were already signs of decline in Dave Rennie’s final season. The attacking verve that had been their trademark has been replaced by a more pragmatic style in recent years and that is down to the loss of key players as much as coaching.

Any team would struggle to replace Finn Russell, Stuart Hogg, Niko Matawalu, Leone Nakarawa and Adam Hastings and the club have had to adapt accordingly.

What compounds the misery for Glasgow supporters is that Edinburgh have stolen their thunder when it comes to entertaining rugby. The loss of regular Friday night games at Scotstoun is another bone of contention and Kellock and the new coach have much work to do to get the fans back onside.

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