Scotland appoint O’Halloran

Date published: May 20 2015

Vern Cotter has continued to mould the shape of Scotland's backroom team today with the recruitment of highly-rated New Zealander Jason O'Halloran to take the reins of the national team's backs after the Rugby World Cup.

The appointment is the second to be announced by Cotter in as many months, having brought former Scotland and British & Irish Lions lock Nathan Hines back into the national set-up in May.

O'Halloran, 42, will see out the remainder of his club contract as head coach of the Manawatu Turbos, and arrive in November, to take on the mantle from Duncan Hodge, who announced his move to Edinburgh Rugby yesterday (Tuesday).

Scotland Head Coach, Vern Cotter, said: "Jason was a very good rugby player and is an excellent coach. I've kept tabs on him for a number of years, with him coming well- recommended over that time.

"He's very strong on individual development, has a very good eye on attack and how to open up opportunities. I think our players will thrive and develop under him.

"His arrival is another plus for Scottish rugby; he'll bring another perspective and develop our players here in Scotland.”

O'Halloran was a prolific and astute play-maker and captain, scoring 35 tries in 95 games for Wellington, and 17 in 54 for the Hurricanes at Super Rugby level.

In 2000 he represented New Zealand A against England, and then captained the side against Tonga and Samoa, before earning his first and only All Black cap against Italy in Genova later that year.

He finished his playing career with Japanese club Kubota Spears, where he began his coaching career in 2005.

He was then appointed High Performance Academy Manager of Manawatu in 2007, before being the first coach to lead the province to a title in 34 years.

It was there he oversaw the development of some the nation's top young exponents, including half-backs Aaron Cruden and Aaron Smith, before taking on the role of Head Coach of the Turbos, which he has occupied since 2011.

Jason O'Halloran said: "I'm looking forward to working with an exciting group of players under a widely respected Head Coach in Vern Cotter.

"I believe in the style Vern is pursuing and that there is significant growth potential in a young and enthusiastic squad.

"Working with that type of talent excites me and I believe the group of backs in the Scotland squad will be one that I can relate to and help grow.

"There are some very promising backs and developing an environment which allows them to express their flair and have fun doing it will be a great challenge which I look forward to.”