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Townsend says Six Nations could be his last as Scotland coach

Scotland's coach Gregor Townsend. Photo: Pablo Gasparini/AFP

Gregor Townsend said on Tuesday the forthcoming Six Nations could be his last as Scotland coach, as he revealed he has not held talks over a contract extension.

Townsend’s Scotland contract ends later this year and it has been widely speculated he will leave after the World Cup in France in September and October.

Townsend admitted his long-term future could lie away from the Scotland post, after naming a 40-man squad for the Six Nations.

“I’m not contracted beyond this year so of course (it could be a last Six Nations as Scotland coach),” the 49-year-old said.

The former Scotland fly-half, asked if he would like clarity about his future before the World Cup, replied: “Yes, of course. But we’ll just have to wait and see.

“No discussions have been had and I don’t see them taking place until after the Six Nations.”

French media reports have claimed Townsend has been approached about taking up a position in France’s set-up following the World Cup.

“I did get a contact from France, but it was just an initial enquiry and there was nothing further from that because we obviously play France in the Six Nations so I didn’t want to talk any further with them about that,” he said.

Townsend has also been linked with Premiership champions Leicester after former head coach Steve Borthwick left to join England.

“Nothing about Leicester,” said Townsend. “I read that with some surprise. Most of the things I’ve read are speculation.”

Townsend took charge of Scotland in 2017, with his reign dogged by a series of inconsistent results that have seen a talented side fail to sustain a challenge for the Six Nations title.

Scotland also squandered a nine-point lead during an eventual 31-23 defeat by New Zealand at Murrayfield in November, missing the chance to record a first win over the All Blacks.

Townsend was confident the uncertainty over his own future would not hamper Scotland’s efforts in a Six Nations they start against England at Twickenham on February 4.

“No, I think it will be the last thing on the players’ minds,” he said.

“We have a really important year of rugby for the national team. The Six Nations is a massive part of that, the World Cup is obviously huge.”

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