Scott Johnson is to leave his role as director of elite rugby with the Scottish Rugby Union to take up a similar role in his native Australia.
The 56-year-old has been heavily linked with a return to his homeland and the move was confirmed by an SRU press release issued in the early hours of this morning.
The SRU statement said: “Scottish Rugby can confirm that Scott Johnson will be leaving for a new post with Rugby Australia at the end of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.
“Following negotiations between Scottish Rugby and Rugby Australia a satisfactory compensation package was agreed to enable Johnson to leave his Director of Rugby role in Scotland before the end of his existing contract.”
Johnson said: “This has been a big decision but for me, right now, it is the right one to make. From the outset I’ve wanted to make Scotland more competitive on the world stage on all levels. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some highly talented and committed people and together I think we have made progress in those areas and hope that will continue in the years ahead.
“I’ve loved my time in Scotland and I’d like to thank Mark Dodson and the Board for their support throughout. I won’t be leaving Scottish Rugby until after the Six Nations, where I’m looking forward to see how all our teams perform. It’s been a great six years and I’ve enjoyed the challenge.”
SRU chief executive Mark Dodson added: “Scott has made a significant contribution to the development of elite rugby in Scotland and he leaves with our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the work he has done.
“His unrivalled global rugby knowledge and connections at every level of the game have hugely benefited the development of how our game in Scotland has progressed in recent years, be that working with head coaches, forming partnerships beyond our borders and establishing Scottish Rugby’s high performance department to the level it is today.
“He leaves with our best wishes for the next stage of his career.”
A former assistant coach with Wales and Australia, and head coach at Ospreys, Johnson came to Scotland in 2012 as part of Andy Robinson’s national team coaching group and became interim head coach following Robinson’s resignation after the embarrassing home defeat to Tonga in Aberdeen at the end of that year.
That interim spell was prolonged by a hold up in successor Vern Cotter being released from his contract by Clermont Auvergne and Johnson oversaw two Six Nations campaigns. In 2013 Scotland enjoyed home wins over Italy and Ireland, with an away win in Rome the only other championship victory under Johnson. In total, the national team won five and lost 11 of the 16 Test matches during the Australian’s caretakership.
Johnson took on the role of Director of Rugby – with a high performance remit - in May 2013, alongside his role as interim national coach before Cotter took up the Scotland reins a year later.