Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scott Johnson to leave SRU for Wallabies

Scott Johnson's side managed only one win

Scottish Rugby has this morning confirmed that somewhat controversial former coach and current Director of Rugby Scott Johnson will be leaving for a new post in his home country of Australia after the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.

Johnson is still under contract, but following negotiations between Scottish Rugby and Rugby Australia, it seems a “satisfactory” compensation package has been agreed to enable Johnson to leave his role in Scotland before the end of it.

His record as interim coach between the tenures of Andy Robinson and Vern Cotter wasn’t great but his legacy within the game in Scotland is likely to be the improvement of the Academy systems over the last six years and a greater focus on the womens and age grade game at the high-performance end of Scottish rugby. It is also believed that extensive connections around the world game were instrumental in setting up links like the Stade Nicois player development deal put in place during his tenure as well as the higher quality of foreign coaches (Cotter, Cockerill, Rennie) recruited for both the national and pro sides.

Because of the “behind the scenes” nature of his role and his sporadic appearances since resigning as coach, there will always be some mystery as to how much of that can be credited entirely to the Australian but with the national team in rude health he perhaps gets the benefit of the doubt for now. He probably signed an NDA in any case…

There will of course also be plenty of odd press conference quotes and that “motivational” speech to the sevens squad just before it was almost axed, for others to remember him by.

17 Responses

  1. Scott Johnson, The Man, The Myth the Legend is back off down under.

    The future of Scottish rugby just got alot bleaker.

  2. As someone who was a youth coach from 2004 to 2014 I am well aware of the academy work that was being done before the fat bluffer arrived – he takes credit for making sure they continued to get funding, but the structure was built before he arrived.

    As to the women’s game – all we are seeing is they are finally getting access to public money and the SRU finally recognising it needs to do something – is that really down to Johnson.

    Whilst I am sure he did some good things – nobody stays in a job that long without achieving something – the idea he’s partly responsible for our resurgence is just daft.

    Lets not forget the time he had down in Wales and the cancerous effect he had on the Welsh squad.

    When he was interim coach he actually had Scotland not competing at the breakdown for a whole 6Ns.

    I am not in any way sad he’s going.

    1. He must have been doing alot of stuff right if he was getting 250k annual salary and Scotland upward trend started when him and dodson took over, quit bashing the guy, yes everyone including myself had abit of fun with it but to bash the guy when he is leaving is just poor taste and belongs in a sport where the ball is at your foot.

  3. A good servant to Scottish rugby who will be sorely missed. The background work he has done has helped get us where we are now and he has put good infrastructure in place. Australia’s gain is Scotland’s loss I’m sad to say.

      1. Why?

        Are you seriously suggesting that Scotland’s national rugby organisation shouldn’t have a Director..of Rugby?

  4. I see Cockers has come out today and pretty much echoed my sentiments above so it goes to show that those who know what they are talking about can see what a loss he will be.

    Whoever comes in has a hard act to follow

    1. Fraser brown mentioned he done alot on that english podcast despite getting alot of stick of some shameful supporters.

  5. It’s worth reading Cockerill’s comments on Scott Johnson on the BBC article. Entirely endorses him and his contribution to Scottish rugby.

    1. Yep, no one is denying he done some stupid things in the past as a coach but he took that over on a interim basis after the shambles Andy Robinson left it in after the Tonga defeat. His strengths do appear to be on the other aspects of scottish rugby and it has shown.

      Dodson is no fool, no way he would keep Johnson around for so long with the baggage he brings if there was not alot of positives also.

  6. Since Scott Johnson arrived :

    We’ve recruited Vern Cotter, Dave Rennie and Richard Cockerill to head up our professional rugby sides (and retained Gregor Townsend)
    We’ve instituted organised leagues for the first time ever, so that schools now have top level competitive structures
    We’ve produced more young players of pro standard than ever before, with 17 players from the 2016 U20s squad now playing pro rugby
    Instituted Edinburgh vs Glasgow U16s, U18s and U20s matches as the peak of the domestic regional age group structure
    Recorded more success at international age group level than ever before
    Organised secondments of players to Super rugby (e.g. Lewis Carmichael to The Force)
    Recruited and retained more talent within our two pro teams than ever before
    Tried to implement a new system to bridge the obvious gap between Scottish community rugby and the pro game

    I’ve no idea how much of a hand Scott Johnson has had in all of these outcomes – but neither does almost anyone else who here.

    Someone certainly deserves praise. Who would you prefer to give it to – Scott Johnson or Mark Dodson, that other demonised figure?

    Certainly seems like the commentary from the players and people like Cockerill is that he had a big input and his replacement has something to build on.

      1. The point being, neither does anyone else who hasn’t been working on the inside in the SRU for the past few years.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion