Glasgow Warriors: 'We could not keep Gregor Townsend waiting for Scotland job'

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Scottish Rugby chief on Gregor Townsend

Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson says that, if they had delayed offering Gregor Townsend the Scotland job any longer, they may have lost him to a club in England or France.

Glasgow Warriors coach Townsend will replace Vern Cotter as Scotland head coach when both mens' contracts expire next summer.

"His view was 'if it's not now then I want to move on'," Dodson told BBC Scotland.

"Our view was that he was ready."

Dodson also confirmed that Scottish Rugby has already identified who it wants to succeed Townsend as Glasgow head coach and hopes to make an announcement in the next "two or three weeks".

With the contracts of both Townsend and Cotter expiring in the summer of 2017, Dodson says interest in both coaches forced the governing body to make a decision on the futures of both men.

"You have to be ahead of the wave in terms of planning," he said. "We've been aware that there has been interest in Gregor and in Vern for some time now, knowing that their contracts are coming to an end. I've got two outstanding coaches that are in demand.

"Vern's done an outstanding job, but we felt it was the right time that Scotland had a Scot in charge.

"These guys are being linked with jobs in England, in France and, potentially, New Zealand all the time. These are not men who are without options.

Gregor Townsend
Townsend led Glasgow to the Pro12 title in 2015

"We took the view that this was the right time. We had a coach that was ready, probably the most outstanding Scottish coach of his generation.

"He's had the experience, he'd been successful and this was the right time for us to make that move.

"Gregor could have waited until 2019, but I think he felt it was probably in his interests to go and get experience elsewhere rather than stay at Glasgow for what would have been six or seven years."

'Cotter and Townsend will remain focused'

Dodson rejects the notion that the decision to name Townsend as the new Scotland coach 10 months before he takes up the position will lead to uncertainty in both the Warriors and Scotland camps this season.

He also says Cotter accepts the reasons behind the decision to replace him next year.

"Vern's a professional guy," said Dodson. "He understands that he's in Scotland and there's a need for us to have a Scottish coach. It's been seven, eight years since we've had a Scottish coach.

"We wouldn't just have taken a Scottish coach, we just happened to have a fantastically qualified Scottish coach who we believe will build on the foundations that Vern has laid here.

"Vern has understood that this is professional rugby and this is not a man that will be without options going forward.

Vern Cotter
Dodson says Vern Cotter will not be short of offers when he leaves Scotland

"Vern's focused very much on the Autumn Tests and the Six Nations. There's nothing in Gregor's mind other than progressing through Europe and also the Pro12 championship this year.

"As far as they're concerned, they're very focused on what they're going to be doing for this coming year.

"If anybody thinks that Vern's going to switch off, they don't know the man."

'New coach will take Glasgow to another level'

Glasgow fans will be disappointed to see Townsend go after he led them to the Pro12 title in 2015, but Dodson believes the man they have lined up as his successor will excite the Scotstoun regulars.

"We're very close to being able to announce Gregor's successor," Dodson continued. "It will be over the next couple of weeks or so.

"We've done our due diligence, we've made our moves in the market and we're confident we'll be able to announce a highly successful coach. I think most rugby people will know this person.

"In two or three weeks time, I think we'll be in a position to make sure that the Glasgow fans realise that we have taken the project at Scotstoun on to another level with a person that can replace Gregor and just keep that wonderful story of the Warriors going.

"I think, when you see the person we've appointed, I don't think they'll be any doubt about his quality."

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