Scotland men’s head coach Gregor Townsend has signed a contract extension until April 2026, Scottish Rugby announced on Tuesday.

Townsend will lead Scotland into the 2023 Rugby World Cup and through the following three Six Nations championships, but the new deal falls short of confirming he will coach the team into the 2027 World Cup.

“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,” Townsend said in a statement. “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, who won 82 caps for Scotland from 1993 to 2003, has been head coach of the national team since 2017. In that time he’s led Scotland to two historic wins at Twickenham against England, with the team finishing third in the Six Nations this year.

His contract was originally set to expire after this year’s World Cup, but the new deal confirms he is staying put until 2026.

Scottish Rugby CEO Mark Dodson 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 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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