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Gregor Townsend: Scotland head coach to lead country into 2023 Rugby World Cup

Gregor Townsend becomes Scotland’s longest-serving head coach of the professional era with this extension to his current agreement; former Glasgow Warriors head coach will lead side to next World Cup in France

Image: Gregor Townsend became Scotland head coach in June 2017

Gregor Townsend will lead Scotland into the 2023 Rugby World Cup after signing a two-year contract extension as head coach.

The 47-year-old, appointed in 2017 as successor to Vern Cotter, becomes Scotland's longest-serving head coach of the professional era.

Former Glasgow Warriors head coach Townsend has overseen 40 Tests, winning 22 matches and drawing one.

Scotland failed to progress past the group stage at last year's World Cup in Japan.

"I am honoured and privileged to have been given the opportunity to continue in my role as Scotland head coach," Townsend said.

"I will be doing all I can, alongside an outstanding support staff, to improve the team as we build towards Rugby World Cup 2023 in France."

"We have a very talented and hard-working group of players, with growing depth in a number of positions"
Gregor Townsend

Scotland concluded their 2020 campaign with a 31-16 defeat by Ireland on Saturday as they finished fourth in the Autumn Nations Cup.

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Wins against Georgia, Wales and Italy earlier this autumn had seen Townsend to a five-match winning run, before back-to-back losses against France and Ireland.

Image: Scotland celebrated a Six Nations win in Wales for the first time in 18 years with victory in Llanelli in October

"Over the past year I believe we have made progress on and off the field which give real grounds for optimism around what this team can achieve," added Townsend.

"I know how much our supporters want the team to do well and the backing for the team has been fantastic, especially during the difficulties of the past year with Covid, knowing how much of a lift the country gets when the national team is successful."

"We have a very talented and hard-working group of players, with growing depth in a number of positions. We will be putting all our efforts into unlocking that potential and helping our players deliver their best performances when they come together for our future campaigns."

Scotland's Finn Russell offloads to Duhan van der Merwe for a try against Georgia
Image: Finn Russell made his return to the Scotland fold under Townsend this autumn

Scotland retained the Calcutta Cup for the first time since 1983 under Townsend after victory over England in 2018 at Murrayfield, before a thrilling 38-38 draw at Twickenham the following year.

Townsend also led Scotland to its highest place in the world rankings of fifth in 2017/18 season.

Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson said: "I am really pleased we can continue to have Gregor lead the Scotland team over the next couple of years and into Rugby World Cup 2023.

"I've been impressed with how Gregor has refocussed his approach over the last 12 months following the disappointing results at the RWC 2019 and believe he the right man to continue an anticipated upward trajectory of this group of players and coaches.

"International rugby has never been such a competitive arena and Scottish Rugby is determined to keep pace with other nations and having a talented and respected coach like Gregor on board is an important factor in helping us achieve that."

The draw for the 2023 World Cup will be held on Monday.

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