War­riors duo to join Townsend’s Scot­land staff

Scot­stoun as­sis­tants Tay­lor and McFar­land will fol­low head coach to na­tional team

The Herald - Herald Sport - - RUGBY UNION - STU­ART BATH­GATE

ACOACH tra­di­tion­ally has the right to take his as­sis­tants with him to a new job, and Gre­gor Townsend has ex­er­cised that right by de­cid­ing that Matt Tay­lor and Dan McFar­land will ac­com­pany him from Glas­gow War­riors to Mur­ray­field when he takes charge of Scot­land next sum­mer.

Tay­lor is al­ready fa­mil­iar with the na­tional set-up, hav­ing worked there as well as with Glas­gow for the past few years. McFar­land, on the other hand, only ar­rived at Scot­stoun in time for the start of last sea­son, hav­ing pre­vi­ously been with Con­nacht for nine years. But the fact that the two are al­ready au fait with Townsend’s work­ing meth­ods should en­sure a smooth changeover when they leave Glas­gow for Ed­in­burgh in time for Scot­land’s tour to Aus­tralia next June.

“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 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.”

The pro­mo­tion has come rapidly for McFar­land, but he is con­fi­dent that he will be ready to make the step up.

“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 [for­merly Ire­land A], has primed me for this op­por­tu­nity and I’m look­ing for­ward to step­ping into the full in­ter­na­tional en­vi­ron­ment.”

Ja­son O’Hal­lo­ran and Jonathan Humphreys, both cur­rently as­sis­tants to Vern Cot­ter, will move to Glas­gow to join up with in­com­ing head coach Dave Ren­nie, who will suc­ceed Townsend next sum­mer. The new post rep­re­sents a re­u­nion for O’Hal­lo­ran and Ren­nie, who have worked to­gether in their na­tive New Zealand in var­i­ous guises since 2000. The high­lights of their time to­gether so far were when they led the New Zealand Un­der-20s team to two Ju­nior World Cham­pi­onships in 2010 and 2011.

Yes­ter­day’s an­nounce­ment of the changes from Mur­ray­field made no men­tion of Nathan Hines, an­other cur­rent as­sis­tant coach with Scot­land. The for­mer in­ter­na­tional lock is ex­pected to move with Cot­ter to French club Mont­pel­lier.

With the coach­ing set-up at the War­riors and the na­tional team now sorted out, it re­mains to be seen what hap­pens at Ed­in­burgh. Dun­can Hodge has made an ex­cel­lent start to his stint as act­ing head coach and is part of a set­tled group along with as­sis­tants Steve Scott and Peter Wilkins, but that trio is markedly in­ex­pe­ri­enced com­pared to the in­com­ing group at Glas­gow.

Would the SRU per­mit such an im­bal­ance in the coach­ing set-ups at its two pro­fes­sional teams, or would it feel obliged to strengthen Ed­in­burgh? And what of Mike Blair, who is cur­rently in his first full year as a War­riors as­sis­tant after be­ing a player/coach last sea­son?

OLD PALS’ ACT: Gre­gor Townsend will re­tain coaches Tay­lor and McFar­land

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