The Scotland coach expects to blood some young talent during the summer international window even if he is not around to oversee the matches.
Townsend is being widely tipped to be part of the British & Irish Lions coaching team for the tour to South Africa which begins with a ‘send-off’ international against Japan at BT Murrayfield on June 26 and concludes with three Test matches against the world champions in Johannesburg and Cape Town in July and August.
Scotland’s summer schedule has yet to be confirmed but there are options to play Georgia, Romania and Spain, while Townsend revealed that the Scots could look to take on Japan while they are in Edinburgh for the Lions match.
The Scotland coach also floated the idea of a game against England which might take the form of a development match or A international.
Regardless of who the opposition are, Townsend is keen to use the opportunity to see the likes of Jamie Dobie and Rufus McLean play international rugby.
The Glasgow Warriors pair were part of a group of young players invited to train with Scotland at various points during the Six Nations but both were then promoted to the full squad.
McLean, the Warriors winger, caught the eye last weekend with a stunning solo try against the Dragons at the Principality Stadium while scrum-half Dobie has long been earmarked for big things
“It’s been great bringing young players into our training squad,” said Townsend. “You’ve seen that Jamie Dobie and Rufus McLean were invited to train and now they’re full members.
“We’re seeing how they’ve progressed in this period for their clubs. Obviously Rufus’ try last week was a worldie and the week before he was running three restarts - these are tremendously encouraging signs for someone in his first taste of professional rugby.
“We had two 18-year-old second rows training with us in the past couple of weeks in Max Williamson and Alex Samuel [both Scottish Rugby Academy players with Glasgow Warriors].
“There are more players coming through at a younger age. So yeah, I’m sure there will be opportunities for those young players. It’s up to them now. They’ve got two or three months of the season left to play well for their clubs.”
Townsend will also look to give more opportunities to a couple of English-based players, one of whom got a brief taste of the Six Nations.
Cam Redpath, the Bath centre, made a stunning international debut in the Calcutta Cup win at Twickenham but then missed the remainder of the tournament with a nerve-related neck injury.
His team-mate Josh Bayliss was called into the Scotland squad for the match against France in February only for the game to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak in the French squad. The uncapped back-row forward was then sidelined when he suffered a concussion on club duty.
“Cam Redpath has played one game for us and what a debut that was,” said Townsend. “Josh Bayliss came into our squad. We hope they are all available and fit but ultimately playing well enough to get into our squad for the summer.”