Townsend Joins Scotland Coaching Team
Gregor Townsend, the former Scotland and British Lions back, is to join the national team for the 2009 RBS 6 Nations Championship as backs coach.Townsend succeeds Sean Lineen in a role that Lineen undertook during last year’s summer tour to Argentina and the most recent Bank of Scotland Corporate Autumn Tests before, as previously announced, returning to concentrate on his key duties as head coach with Glasgow Warriors.Scotland head coach Frank Hadden welcomed Townsend’s appointment. He said: “Gregor has already made a considerable impact in working with the players at Edinburgh and Scotland A and the support he has championed for players through the Winning Scotland Foundation’s mentoring programme underlines the appetite from elite players for the experience and technical guidance that he brings.”I think it significant too with all Gregor’s experience as a player that he will be able to offer one-on-one advice to Scotland players and that insight can only be valuable especially in the year of a British and Irish Lions tour.”Townsend said: “I’m delighted to have been invited by Frank Hadden to become backs coach for this year’s Six Nations. I can’t wait to get started working with the players and the challenge of getting them to perform consistently at their best level. “I am also hugely appreciative of the role Winning Scotland Foundation has played in allowing me to take this opportunity. Working with such a dynamic organisation that is encouraging positive cultural change through sport has struck a chord with its innovative and challenging approach to coaching practices. He continued: “Part of the attraction of joining the Foundation 18 months ago, was their commitment to supporting my development as a coach. For example, this has enabled me to work regularly with Edinburgh, spend a week with the Queensland Reds and also attend numerous coaching courses. I am now looking forward to applying the knowledge and insights I have gained from the Foundation and my 12 years of experience as a professional rugby player to help the Scotland team.”Referring to the positive relationship Winning Scotland Foundation enjoys with Scottish Rugby, Graham Watson, executive director of the Foundation, added: ‘As the Director of our Winning Performance programme, Gregor’s coaching role with the Scotland team fits very well with Winning Scotland Foundation’s long term aim of having a nation that wants to succeed at everything. Helping Scots to achieve success on the world stage and in consequence, become role models who can inspire, encourage, motivate and educate other young Scots is a key element of the Foundation’s vision. “Over the past 18 months we have developed an excellent partnership with Scottish Rugby, collaborating on world-class initiatives around mentoring emerging talented athletes and developing the mental skills of young rugby players. In both of these initiatives together with today’s announcement, our objective is to demonstrate the benefits of innovative thinking which can then be extended to other sports, with the ultimate goal of showing that every young Scot can be a winner in life. We are delighted to be supporting Gregor’s work with Frank Hadden and wish the Scotland team every success in the upcoming RBS 6 Nations.”Townsend, who played club rugby in Scotland, England, France and South Africa, won the first of his then record-breaking 82 caps for Scotland as a replacement against England in 1993. His last appearance was in the 2003 Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Australia.He scored 164 points for Scotland, including 17 tries. He captained Scotland in two Tests in season 1996-97and in season 1998-99 he matched the record of 1925 Grand Slam centre Johnnie Wallace by scoring a try in each of Scotland’s then Five Nations Championship matches that season. He was awarded the MBE in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to rugby.Townsend, who his his UKCC Level 2 certificate and is currently working towards his UKCC Level 3 qualification, will be working alongside Frank Hadden and his assistant coaches, Mike Brewer and Graham Steadman. Lineen and his Edinburgh counterpart, Andy Robinson, will continue to be involved in national team selection.Notes to editors Tickets are on sale now for Scotland’s first two home games in the 2009 RBS 6 Nations Championship – against Wales on Sunday 8 February (kick-off 3pm) and against Italy on Saturday 28 February (kick-off 3pm). The next planned public ticket sale for Scotland’s final home game in the championship – against Ireland on Saturday 14 March (kick-off 5pm) – begins at 9am this coming Wednesday (14 January).Tickets can be bought online at www.scottishrugby.org; via the dedicated, 24-hour credit-card hotline 0871 200 1511; or in person at the Scottish Rugby Ticket Centre, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. Please note a booking fee applies to all card transactions and no tickets are on sale on match day.