Townsend signs contract extension until 2026

Gregor Townsend has signed a contract extension that will see him stay on as Scotland’s head coach until April 2026.

Gregor Townsend has signed a contract extension that will see him stay on as Scotland’s head coach until April 2026.

Townsend is the longest-serving Scotland boss of the professional era, having taken over from Vern Cotter in May 2017.

The former Northampton Saints and Castres back has since led his side to third place in the Guinness Six Nations twice, as well as their first win over England at Twickenham since 1983.

And Townsend believes his Scotland squad has the potential to compete with the best teams in the world.

Townsend said: “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.

“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.

“The number of people who arrive two hours early to welcome the team off the bus on a home matchday demonstrates the love shown for this group of players and their belief that the squad can achieve something special.

“Our focus right now remains on Rugby World Cup preparations, but I am delighted to have secured my future for the next few years and look forward to continuing to do all I can to drive the team forward and inspire our supporters.”

Townsend’s team will face Wales at Principality Stadium in their opening game of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations.

Scotland will now set their sights on the 2023 Rugby World Cup, where they are grouped with South Africa, Ireland, Tonga and Romania.

Scotland suffered an early exit from the 2019 Rugby World Cup following losses to both Ireland and tournament hosts Japan.

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson believes Townsend is the right person to lead the side in France later this year.

He said: “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.

“What Gregor has built over the last six years of his tenure has taken Scotland to fifth in the world rankings and we are keen to keep that continuity and forward momentum.

“The squad has unparalleled depth which is the result of many years of planned development.

“We believe he is best placed to take the team to the next level and continue to excite and engage the people of Scotland.”