Townsend names his assistant coaches

Date published: October 27 2016

Future Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has confirmed that Matt Taylor and Dan McFarland will join him when he starts the job in June.

Taylor has been by Townsend’s Glasgow side as defence coach since the pair joined the Warriors in 2012, steering them to the play-offs in every season, culminating with the team becoming the first Scottish professional side to win the PRO12 in 2015.

He arrived a year after helping the Reds lift the Super Rugby title and combined his domestic duties with the role for the national team for the past five seasons.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue my involvement with the national team,” said Taylor.

“Gregor and I have known each other for a long time and have a really good understanding of each other’s coaching principles and philosophies, having developed many of them together as players a number of years ago.

“The chance to work with him professionally over the past five years at Glasgow has been great and I’m pleased that’s set to continue.

“The thing that struck us as players – and one of the reasons we got on so well – was that we were both very keen on our coaching and would often discuss drills and activities as we became excited about the next step in our careers.

“The reality of those conversations is that we’re now set to coach together for Scotland which is very exciting.

“We’ve had some success with Glasgow and hope to bring that to the national team and continue from where we are now.”

Townsend recruited McFarland to Glasgow as forwards coach last summer after nine seasons with fellow PRO12 side Connacht.

The former Emerging Ireland, Ireland Wolfhounds and Ireland U20 coach made over 100 appearances for Connacht from 2000 to 2006, and also played for Richmond and Stade Francais.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “It’s a great honour to be asked to coach a national side and all the more so because I know many of the players who represent Scotland through my work with Glasgow.

“My experience in Ireland, with the Emerging Ireland side and the Wolfhounds, has primed me for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to stepping into the full international environment, where the intensity and condensed nature demands a step up in many areas.

“Although it’s very exciting to sign a contract to work at a national level, I – like Gregor and Matt – are focused on our day-to-day responsibility and commitment to Glasgow Warriors until the end of a very important season.”

Townsend said: “I’m delighted to confirm the support of two hard-working coaches for the future national coaching group.

“I have known Matt since our playing days and he has developed into an outstanding defence coach since hanging up his boots, winning Super Rugby with the Reds and the PRO12 while at Glasgow. He is always striving to improve and it’s great that we’ll be continue to learn together over the next few years.

“Dan has done a fantastic job since arriving at Glasgow last season, and before that in Ireland. He is able to combine forensic detail from the technical side of the game with a love of learning and looking to bring out the best in his players. He has more than lived up to the reputation that preceded him and has developed very good relationships with the players at Glasgow.

“It’s great news that he’s joining us and I’m sure he will thrive in the international arena.”

Meanwhile, experienced Scotland assistant coaches Jonathan Humphreys and Jason O’Halloran have been recruited to join incoming Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie at Scotstoun in the summer.