Townsend will be in the role until April 2026

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has signed a contract extension that will keep him in the role until April 2026.

Townsend’s existing deal was due to expire after the World Cup and although he was thought to be keen to stay, SRU CEO Mark Dodson had claimed he would only be offered an extension if they believed he could take the team on to the next level.

Scotland finished third in this year’s Six Nations, after winning their first two games in the competition for the first time in 27 years, and Townsend has been rewarded with a new deal after steering the team to their best finish since 2018.

After his new deal was announced, 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.

Read more: Scotland Rugby World Cup squad

“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.”

Related: New Zealand confirm Scott Robertson’s All Blacks assistants

One name that had been linked with the job was former All Black and Blues head coach Leon MacDonald but he was recently announced as one of Scott Robertson’s New Zealand assistants.

The SRU have stuck with their man in Townsend and Dodson added: “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 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.”

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