Townsend signs Scotland contract extension

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Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has been rewarded with a contract extension until 2021.

Townsend had a fruitful first year in charge after replacing Vern Cotter last June, masterminding home and away wins over Australia and a famous victory against England at Murrayfield.

Scotland finished third in the Six Nations and have averaged four tries a Test since Townsend was appointed, playing an open, expansive brand of rugby.

The former Glasgow Warriors head coach has agreed to extend his deal by a year along with coaches Matt Taylor and Mike Blair.

"I have always been incredibly proud to coach Scotland and I'm delighted and grateful to be able to extend my involvement with the national team," said Townsend.

"It's a privilege to coach such a hardworking group of quality players, which is continuing to grow in depth."

He added: "There's certainly a lot of improvement to be found – both from us as coaches and also our playing performances – but we've also seen some excellent displays over the past season, as well as a genuine desire from the players to give their best for their country.

"I've been really pleased with the way the squad has come together whenever we've been in camp. The players have built strong relationships with each other, trained with intensity and learned quickly after any setbacks we have faced.

"They have also been terrific ambassadors for their country on tours or whenever they have interacted with our supporters.

"We're well aware we're entering a crucial and exciting time for this group, as we continue to seek improvements across the board and target a strong Autumn Test series and Six Nations, before our build up to the Rugby World Cup begins in earnest."