Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Chiefs Dave Rennie to replace Townsend at Glasgow

Dave Rennie - pic courtesy SRU

Hot on the heels of the Vern Cotter/Gregor Townsend reshuffle, Scottish Rugby has appointed NZ Super Rugby side the Chiefs coach Dave Rennie as the new Head Coach of Glasgow Warriors for the 2017/18 season on a 2 year deal.

Rennie joined the Chiefs in 2012 and won two Super Rugby titles in his first two seasons, the first coach to win a Super Rugby title in his debut season since 2000.

He began his coaching career in 1999 at Wellington, where the team won their first NPC title in 14 years in his first season as head coach in 2000. He also coached Manawatu between 2006-2011 – where his assistant was current Scotland attack coach Jason O’Halloran, who then succeeded him in the role. Concurrent to that, Rennie coached the New Zealand U20 side that won three consecutive Junior World Championships between 2008-2010.

Some further south (of the equator) might see this as a step down for Rennie but it is a chance for him to cement his Northern Hemisphere credentials and perhaps raise his CV into the same bracket as the other Kiwi coaches seen to be contenders for the All Blacks role when it next becomes vacant.

Dave Rennie said: “I am delighted to be appointed to the Head Coach role at Glasgow Warriors. The opportunity to work with such an exciting group of players at a club that has such big ambitions and a great winning culture was one I couldn’t turn down. It’s no secret I have been interested in coaching abroad and this chance with Scottish Rugby fitted the bill perfectly.

“As a coach you want to test yourself in new environments with new challenges. The work Gregor and his team have done at the Warriors speaks for itself and I am very motivated to continue that success and build the club.”

He’ll have a job to do to maintain that culture but his Chiefs side made the playoffs every year he coached them which fits with Glasgow’s similar knockout run. This article suggests that Girvan Dempsey found plenty of positives when he spent some time in camp with the Chiefs.

He certainly has the rugby credentials and once again it looks like a pretty good bit of business by Dodson. The announcement wasn’t expected immediately but maybe the excitement became a bit too much. Certainly Glasgow fans will have a right to be feeling positive about the appointment.

The only issue now is, can he fill out his backroom staff with a few token Scots?

23 Responses

  1. There is such a voluble anti-SRU group of Scottish fans that I think we may have acquired one of the shrewdest union CEOs in the world without anyone really noticing. This is a massive, massive coup and should be applauded across Scottish rugby. I just hope Edinburgh can get a coach with even half Rennie’s pedigree.

    1. Totally agree. Just for a change the SRU have really got their ducks in a row. Now for a suitable successor for Solomons.

      1. I think you’re right FF. I know that he’s not been the one entirely responsible for the changes, particularly at grass routes, but he is the man that’s finally been sensible enough to put people that know what they are doing in charge of things like youth development and schools competitions.

        I’ve thought he’s OK for a while now and frankly, a lot of the flak he gets is beacuse people don’t understand that the job of a CEO is to do things like

        1. set stretching targets

        Winning the World Cup. Sort of target anybody working for a big organisation knows happens all the time. Stretch goals and realistic goals.

        2. Scrapping deals when they don’t work
        The arrangement with London Scottish seemed to be pulled when Scottish stopped investing in new players because they though the SRU was going to empty out the Edinburgh and Glasgow reserves which was apparently never the case or the intention.

        3. Papering over cracks in the short term.

        Scott Johnson. Many really didn’t like him but he was just there to blow out the old guard, bring in as many new faces and try them as much as possible.

        Controversial, maybe but that’s what a CEO is for, no?

  2. Genuinely, genuinely shocked and delighted with this appointment. I was keen on a Scottish coach, but only because the best I thought we could achieve from abroad was a journeyman coach no better than the Scottish alternatives. This is not the case here. The coaching team already at Glasgow, assuming they are kept on, will learn loads from Rennie and I would hope the young players will too.

    Is it too much to hope he might convince Damien McKenzie to join him in Glasgow??!!

  3. David B – I was thinking exactly the same re Damien McKenzie, he’s still SQ.

    Tremendous work by the SRU.

    1. He’s played for both the NZ U20s and Maori, surely one of those is the All Blacks “next representative” side for the purposes of eligibility?

  4. Rory – Hugh Blake played for NZ u20, Sean Maitland played for NZ Maori, I’m pretty sure McKenzie is still SQ. (Exceedingly unlikely he will ever play for Scotland but we can all dream)

    1. Caps by the 7s and XVs are instant ties to that country but each country also has a “next representative side”, that they can nominate. In our case it is Scotland A, in Wales the U20s – just ask Steven Shingler…

  5. what an appointment, well played sru (for once) now how about pulling a similar trick with edindurge!

  6. Think NZ u20 is their second senior side, but only captures a player that plays against another country’s second senior side. McKenzie played in 2014 against Samoa, Scotland, South Africa and Ireland, so the only doubt would be over whether Samoa has a second senior side other than their u20s

    1. Slight amendment – rugby mad, Kiwi mate tells me he believes Junior ABs are officially second senior side although they haven’t played since 2009. In addition, McKenzie is contracted to NZRU till 2017

      1. This is all moot I fear as McKenzie is a future AB and will, I feel, feature for the senior side this year. Whatever his link to Scotland may be I can’t see him passing up New Zealand.

  7. Huw Jones is ripping it up in the Currie Cup. Another strong performance and a hat trick again today. Strong runner and decent defender who I hope to see getting a decent run in the Scotland team in the .near future

  8. Difficult one re Scotland centre positions, I reckon Dunbar is essential @ 12 & Taylor has been looking excellent @ 13, however Jones & Bennett are very very good players.
    With it looking unlikely that Russell will be available in the AI, how plays at 10? I’d probably go with Horne to start & Hogg to cover him (I know I know re Hogg @ 10 but Weir simply doesn’t suit the way we must play & there’s no-one else & Hogg’s presence will defo keep the opposition “honest”)

    1. I would disagree with you that there’s no one else to play 10. Tom Heathcote had a solid season last year for Worcester and would cover adequately rather than shoehorning in a full back to ten who doesn’t play there at club level, let alone test level.

      If we’ve learned anything over the years watching Scotland it’s that square pegs in round holes never really work that well.

  9. Heathcote maybe is an option but needs to prove it in the Premiership (very underwhelming @ Edinburgh & looked lost in a Scotland shirt).
    My Hogg @ 10 thing is more about the attitude & the promise to continue playing an expansive style, Hoggy is a genius & will be fine if ever asked to slot into 10

    1. I think that’s a bit harsh considering he was capped at the fag end of the Robinson era when Scotland were lost at sea in most games. He was solid at Worcester last season in a pretty average team. Lest we forget Jackson who will be in with a chance if he starts enough games for Quins

      1. We don’t have the depth to write any FH off, Jackson, Weir, and Heathcote included. He should get another look in if his form warrants it. Jackson and Weir have fluffed their lines more recently.

      2. ALways quite liked Heathcote. Very disappointed he didn’t get/take his chance at Edinburgh.

        We sort of forget that with our good centers now, then a solid 10 like Heathcote might be enough to keep us honest. His distribution and control of an attacking line is, I think, better than Weir’s (just now, hoping regular game time as 1st choice at Edinburgh improves this.) As has been said above, his recent performance for Worcester has been solid to good. I’d back him to be a steady presence at test level now. He certainly deserves another shot rather than being thrown in at 10 for a team that in no way resembles the one we have now.

  10. Alright lads,

    Just read a good article on Finn in the Glasgow Evening Times. It looks like he will be available for selection in the Autumn tests, which is good news! It was fractures around his eye sockets that have been slowing his return rather than concussion. Might be playing with a scrum cap from now on though. Just a thought, will that have a negative effect for a playmaker? Hope the injury won’t affect the way he plays!

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion