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Scotland rugby coach Gregor Townsend signs new deal

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has signed a contract extension until April 2026, ending speculation over his future.

The 50-year-old’s current deal was due to expire after the World Cup later this year and there had been reports that the Scottish Rugby Union could be looking to replace him.

The former Scotland playmaker, who named an extended 41-man training squad for the tournament in France on Tuesday, had also been linked with several other coaching positions.

But following a third-place finish in the Six Nations, Townsend, who was appointed in 2017, will remain in charge of Scotland for another three years at least.

“Being head coach of Scotland is a tremendous honour and I’m excited about the potential of the current squad of players and the game they can deliver against the best teams in the world,” he said.

“As coaches, we have been very encouraged by the progress the team has made this season, and we believe there is much more to come from this group.

“I also feel the connection the team has with the country is special and that our supporters are backing the team like never before.”

Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson hailed the achievements of Townsend, whose side are ranked fifth in the world.

“Gregor Townsend has been the most successful Scotland coach in the history of the professional era and we believe he is the right man to lead the national team beyond this year’s Rugby World Cup,” he said. 

Townsend’s squad, led by captain Jamie Ritchie, will be trimmed to a 33-player list ahead of the sport’s quadrennial showpiece, which starts in September.

Former captains Stuart Hogg and Stuart McInally, who announced recently that they would retire afer the World Cup, are included.

In a squad of few major surprises, Glasgow back Stafford McDowall and Leicester lock Cam Henderson are the only uncapped players.

Edinburgh wing Darcy Graham and Glasgow flanker Rory Darge are both back in the group after missing the Six Nations through injury but Exeter second row Jonny Gray has not been included after suffering a knee injury.

The squad will gather for an initial training camp on May 29 to begin preparations for warm-up matches at home to Italy, France and Georgia and away to the French, in July and August.

Scotland are in a daunting group alongside world champions South Africa, top-ranked Ireland, Tonga and Romania. Their first match is against the Springboks in Marseille on September 10.

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