Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Jason O’Halloran will be Scotland’s New Attack Coach

Vern Cotter - pic © Al Ross
Vern Cotter - pic © Al Ross

For those of you still worried that perhaps Scott Johnson still has anything to do with how Scotland deals with their attacking strategy, today’s news out of Edinburgh/Manuwatu should be of some comfort. Manuwatu Turbos (ITM Cup) head coach Jason O’Halloran has resigned, to take up an international position with the SRU and work alongside Vern Cotter.

O’Halloran, 42, has been head coach at Manuwatu for the last three years but will not take up his post with Scotland until November, after the World Cup. As a centre he scored 17 tries in 54 games for the Hurricanes at Super Rugby level, and in 2000 he represented New Zealand A against England, and then captained the side against Tonga and Samoa, before earning a single All Black cap against Italy.

The appointment is the second to be announced by Cotter in as many months, having brought former Scotland and British & Irish Lions lock Nathan Hines back into the national set-up in May. Scrum coach Massimo Cutita has also left the SRU after 6 years, citing “personal reasons”. This at least suggests Cotter’s vision for Scotland does extend past the end of his contract in 12 months or so, and it also goes some way towards giving Cotter a backroom team of his own devising. Whether Jonathan Humphries’s Macron bodywarmer is on a shoogly peg as forwards coach remains to be seen.

Duncan Hodge, who was dealing with attack coaching during the Six Nations under his brief as an assistant coach, has this week been announced as Edinburgh’s new attack coach, in a move to rectify the imbalance of management staffing levels at the two pro teams and possibly to allow him a bit more hands on experience in that role. He will see out his current role until after the World Cup.

Hodge is currently in New Zealand alongside Ben Cairns as one of the coaching recipients of the Macphail Scholarship.

Interestingly Jason O’Halloran’s absence will make way for someone named Jeremy Cotter to take up his vacant head coach position at the Turbos … I’m saying nothing.

11 Responses

  1. So, signs that Vern might be in it for the longer haul and that we might get the best out of this new generation…I start to sense my ‘hope tank’ filling again, which always both excites and worries me…

  2. You wouldn’t be Scottish if your hope tank was illogically outside your control. Jason is a top bloke and has also worked as a coach educator at IRANZ. Now all we need is an announcement that Tatsy’s contract has been renewed. I missed the news that Massimo was gone. Who is replacing him? I could b available for his reported salary :)

  3. Update re Tatsy – I thought his contract ended after the world cup but it is after the next 6 Nations so that is great news and I think Humphries will be taking over the scrums

  4. Watching Worcester v bristol. Mitch eadie looks good breaking the line and a big engine. Worth a shout at 6/8?

  5. I would agree , over the 2 legs he was a standout player.In the heart of it all and offloading well. Played 8 in these Play off’s. I did not realise he had Scottish qualification until you pointed it out.

    1. Good to see young Scottish players packing their bags in search of game time and excelling in the Championship. The Championship has got a host of young Scots who couldn’t find a place at Edinburgh or Glasgow including at least two young FHs who could still become decent players at the top level in Millar and Leonard. It is a decent standard and these guys will improve much more with game time instead of sitting on the fringes of a first team squad. I see Tommy Spinks has moved to Jersey too.

      It is also good to see Worcester getting into the Premiership for the sake of Alex Grove and Tom Heathcote. Scotland need as many guys playing top level rugby abroad to give us the depth we can’t manage with two pro-sides.

      1. Thats where you are wrong. We need more of these guys playing at the highest level in Scotland. For that to happen we need more pro teams and for the existing pro teams to sign more Scottish players and less second raters from the SH.

        There are very good reasons why other nations (e.g. NZ, OZ, SA, England) prefer to pick players that play for pro teams in their host country. In Scotland we shoould apply the same policy.

        Sorry to go off on a tangent but I have now discovered that there is one organisation more corrupt and incompetent than the SRU and World Rugby. I didnt think it would be possible but FIFA fit the bill.

      2. Neil – the difference is young Scots who play in England or elsewhere are developed at the expense of overseas clubs/unions whereas those who play in Scotland are developed at the cost to the SRU.

        Sure, you can replace all the SRU contracted overseas players with young Scots but would Glasgow be where they are today without guys like DTH, Nico, Nakarawa, Strauss, Cusack etc.? Obviously not. Also, do you think Glasgow are more likely to take the step to qualifying to the next round in Europe by signing Taqele Naiyarovo or relying on Lee Jones and getting an extra EDP? I think the answer is obvious.

        It would be great if we had enough pro-teams to keep all our young players in Scotland and field two competitive pro-teams. But we don’t have the £££. I think Glasgow have a good balance and Edinburgh will hopefully rely less and less on overseas players as more young guys come through. But we’ll still need young players to go abroad to get game time and free up places for others coming through the youth ranks because we can’t yet afford to run another pro-team.

  6. Neil – I would imagine you work where you work as it pays well and you got the job as you have made your mistakes at some other company’expense. No different here.

    Additional Pro teams = Old Hat now.

  7. Bulldog- you miss the point. I don’t blame the players for moving abroad but I do blame the SRU for not providing sufficient opportunities at home. I also blame our existing pro teams for not appreciating the talent that we have in our own country. If they spent more time developing these youngsters they would not have to worry about spending so much money on foreign nationals.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion