Glasgow’s Gregor Townsend the leading light among native coaches | Robert Kitson

The Scottish coach is looking to make his mark on Europe when Glasgow Warriors play the Scarlets in back-to-back European Champions Cup matches over the next two weekends

Locally reared top-level coaches are, increasingly, a breed under threat. Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England each have a southern hemisphere leader at the helm. In this season’s Premiership – with the notable exception of Exeter’s Rob Baxter – non-English coaches such as Mark McCall, Aaron Mauger, Conor O’Shea and Dai Young are showing the way. Over in the Pro12 the top two sides, Scarlets and Connacht, are both being guided by Kiwis: Wayne Pivac and Pat Lam.

All hail Glasgow’s Gregor Townsend, therefore, as he strives to buck the trend, not for the first time in his rugby life. No wonder his decision this week to sign a contract extension, keeping him at Scotstoun until the summer of 2017, was greeted with widespread relief within Scottish rugby. “It was only natural Gregor’s talents would be of interest to other clubs,” acknowledged Mark Dodson, the SRU’s chief executive, making little effort to disguise his delight. And why not? The Warriors’ Pro12 triumph last season was a remarkable achievement for a club with an average attendance of 6,500. Should they also reach the knockout stages of Europe’s showpiece club tournament – for the first time since they were thrashed 90-19 in a quarter-final play-off by Leicester in 1997 – it really will suggest that something is stirring north of the border.

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