The appointment of Vern Cotter to the Scotland job is a testament to the quality of rugby coaches that have been developed in New Zealand, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has said.
Cotter, who is currently coaching France side Clermont-Auvergne, is due to take over the Scotland team in 2014 at the conclusion of his contract with the Top 14 club. The 51-year-old’s appointment means that New Zealanders are now in charge at three of the four home nations.
Cotter’s former assistant at Clermont, Joe Schmidt, was appointed Ireland coach in April, while British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland will resume his duties with Wales after the tour of Australia.
“I think we’re seeing a pattern, if you’re a New Zealander you’re going to be an international coach,” Hansen said. “What sides aren’t we coaching? So that’s a huge pat on the back for the New Zealand system.”
Cotter, Schmidt and Gatland are not the only New Zealand coaches plying their trade with international sides with Cotter’s former boss at the Canterbury Crusaders Robbie Deans in charge of Australia, while Kieran Crowley is in Canada and Milton Haig is in charge of Georgia.
Current Auckland Blues coach John Kirwan led both Italy and Japan before he returned home with an eye on one day applying for the All Blacks job, while Hansen and his predecessor Graham Henry both coached Wales.
Coaching jobs are limited in New Zealand with fewer than 100 potential full-time jobs available as a head or assistant coach.
Outside the national team setup, there are only five professional sides, who all play in the southern hemisphere’s Super Rugby competition.