Bryan Redpath returns to lead Scotland at World U20 Championship

Bryan Redpath is the new Scotland U20 head coach. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
Bryan Redpath is the new Scotland U20 head coach. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
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Former national captain Bryan Redpath has been appointed Scotland Under-20s head coach for this summer’s World Rugby U20 Championship in France.

Redpath, 46, whose coaching CV includes stints in the English Premiership with Gloucester and Sale, takes over from Stevie Scott.

The new boss will be assisted by Steve Lawrie and Nikki Walker who have been named as forwards and backs coaches respectively.

Walker was part of the coaching team under Scott during the recent U20 Six Nations campaign which was marred by an incident before a 36-3 defeat by Wales in February. Several members of the backroom staff – including Walker – were suspended following a late-night incident in a bar two days before the game.

Lawrie, meanwhile, joins the Scotland U20 set-up after coaching Watsonians to a top-four finish in this season’s BT Premiership.

Redpath’s return to rugby represents something of a volte face by the former Scotland scrum-half.

He walked away from the game at the end of last season when he stepped down as head coach of Yorkshire Carnegie to take up a position in finance with foreign exchange specialists Afex. He spoke then of an apparent disenchantment with the sport. However, he has had his enthusiasm rekindled by the prospect of working with the young Scotland squad who notched a memorable win over England U20s at Myreside in last season’s junior Six Nations.

“After 17 years of both playing and coaching in England, I’m delighted to be returning home to coach such a talented group of players,” Redpath said. “I’m really looking forward to working alongside Steve and Nikki, both of whom are gifted coaches, and it’s going to be a great experience leading this squad into next month’s tournament.

“It’s a proud moment for me, and I will hopefully be able to create a platform which then acts as a springboard for some of these players to go onto bigger and better things.”

Redpath was widely considered a rising star in the Scottish coaching firmament. He guided Gloucester to a third-place finish in the Aviva Premiership and victory in the Anglo-Welsh Cup final in his first year in charge. After three years at Kingsholm he move to Sale Sharks and then on to Yorkshire Carnegie.

In a glittering playing career he was capped 60 times by Scotland, 26 as captain, and played at three World Cups, in 1995, 1999 and 2003.

Sean Lineen, the head of age grade rugby in Scotland, thanked Scott for his contributions to the under-20 side.

“Stevie had a positive impact on this group through his experience and technical knowledge, highlighted by the great victory over England and we wish him all the best for the future,” Lineen said.

Scotland U20 have been drawn in a tough group with Italy, Argentina and England for the World Rugby U20 Championship which begins next month.