Scotland assistant head coach Matt Taylor is thought to be a target for England as they seek to replace defence coach Paul Gustard, who is leaving the national team set-up to take charge at Harlequins.
The Daily Mail claims that England head coach Eddie Jones — who will lead his side on a summer tour of South Africa next month — could try and convince Wales’ Shaun Edwards to join his backroom staff, but that Gregor Townsend’s right-hand man Taylor could be a more “attainable” proposition.
The former Edinburgh Rugby flanker followed Townsend from Glasgow Warriors, where he helped the Scotstoun side to the PRO12 title in 2015, to the national team, and is believed to be under contract with the SRU until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. However, this isn’t thought to be a concern for England, who could still try and recruit the 45-year-old if they fail in their pursuit of Edwards.
It would be a blow for Townsend to lose another of his backroom staff, having seen forwards coach Dan McFarland agree to take the reins at Ulster.
Former Leicester Tigers lock Gustard will travel with England for the three fixtures against Rassie Erasmus’s side in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town on June 9, 16 and 23.
The 42-year-old will take up the head coaching role with Quins after the tour, and following his appointment, was quick to dismiss any hints that his departure was due to unrest behind the scenes, despite being the thirteenth staff member to leave the England set-up since Jones took the reins in December 2015.
Gustard said: “Nothing about England was wrong… I was negotiating a new contract. It wasn’t about my happiness there. It was the fact that [the Harlequin job] was a great opportunity for me to progress.”
Former London Wasps defence coach Edwards is understood to have interviewed for the Quins job and, despite a playing career in rugby league, all his coaching has come in rugby union.
Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson backed Edwards for the role, telling the BBC: “Ask anyone who has had Shaun as a coach over the years and they’ll say he significantly developed them.
“Surely this would be the biggest gig yet in a phenomenal career.”