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.