Rennie for Australia as Wilson takes over Glasgow

In a not wholly surprising revelation today, it was announced that Dave Rennie will indeed depart Scotstoun at the end of the season to take over the Australia head coaching job.

The sought-after Kiwi will take over from Michael Cheika and rumours persist that possibly one or both of Matt Taylor (Scotland defence) or Jason O’Halloran (Glasgow backs/skills) may join him in the new setup overseen by Director of Rugby Scott Johnson.

“He enhanced the strong, positive culture at Scotstoun and pushed the team to achieve significant results, playing some outstanding rugby on the way”

Mark Dodson, on Dave Rennie

Rennie’s move back to the Southern hemisphere brings him closer to family and friends at home in New Zealand and had been hinted at for a while. He will see out the season with a Glasgow side that started the season poorly but are starting to click now. With a failure to replace big name transfers like Finn Russell or Stuart Hogg, they may struggle to be competitive at the tail end of the season although we all hope he can go out with a bang.

“We’ve loved our time here around great people. It’s been as good as I could have wished for after leaving New Zealand.
All my focus is on the rest of the season in Glasgow as we strive to be in the mix come play-off time in both comps again.”

Dave Rennie

The hole left at Glasgow will be filled by Scotland forwards coach and former Cardiff Blues head Danny Wilson. While well-respected within the game and seen as a pretty useful signing when he joined Gregor Townsend’s national setup, Wilson is not of the profile that Rennie had when he was signed – seen as a major coup for the Warriors at the time. Rennie was a successful coach at the Chiefs in Super Rugby, while the less said about the Scotland pack performances since Dan McFarland left, the better.

Balancing the star power of the two men. this appointment, unfortunately, leaves the SRU once again open to criticisms that Glasgow are under-supported in terms of purchasing power, despite a rabid and growing fan base, and also that as a whole the SRU seems a very tricky organisation to get fired from.

It also leaves Gregor Townsend searching for a new forwards coach in the national setup, for the second time since he began his tenure. Out of contract forwards coaches may not be growing on trees at the moment even post-World Cup, so he’s unlikely to be able to make an appointment that could be brought in to shadow/take over in the upcoming Six Nations but it could be an avenue worth exploring. There may be someone not applying for the All Blacks job (or not getting it) that could be looking for new pastures, for example. Most likely we’ll get an announcement mid-tournament of who the new person will be.

Wilson should be given time to bed in with Glasgow and I am sure he will have the fans support, and will at least be familiar with a lot of the players already. Day-to-day coaching in a club environment may suit him better than the stop/start nature of national stints that so far have been inconclusive.

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14 comments on “Rennie for Australia as Wilson takes over Glasgow

  1. thebigiam on

    My twitter feed has nothing but warm words for Wilson from Cardiff fans, so happy to give him the benefit of any doubts – being head coach is not the same as being a forwards coach, so hopefully we’ll see him shine. Can’t help but worry that recent years may be seen something of a high water-mark for Glasgow, however.

    I am sad to see Rennie go. Seems a decent bloke, and I think he’s really brought on some of the youngsters. I think over his tenure he’s done well to compensate for the loss of a few of our star men. Difficult to grudge him going nearer to home and to coach an international side.

  2. Andy_N on

    Quote from Dodson: “…it retains an excellent coach within the Scottish professional game” which suggests to me that Townsend had already decided to eject him from the National set-up. I wonder if continuing his SRU employment with Glasgow means that the SRU avoid any costly contractual exit penalties?

  3. Big Al on

    I wish Rennie well and hope Glasgow can send him off with some silverware. I was surprised to hear the replacement was Wilson though. I think the best I can say about his forward coaching for Scotland was unconvincing. My immediate thoughts turned to who will replace him for Scotland, we could do with a good forwards coach, and what will the other coaches at Glasgow make of this appointment?

  4. Big Al on

    On the Matt Taylor (Scotland defence) or Jason O’Halloran (Glasgow backs/skills) debate I would hate to see Jason O’Halloran go. I think he’s really important to Glasgow especially with Wilson likely focusing on the forward effort. However, I suspect he’ll think he’s been over looked for the head coach position, wont learn anything from Wilson and will therefore look for a new job. I think Scotland could do with a freshen up on defense so not too bothered if Matt Taylor goes. However, this will leave Toony with a very depleted backroom from the summer onwards. Interesting times ahead I think!

    • RuggersB on

      I think O’Halloran decided a while back he would move on…probably back to NZ or maybe in Rennie’s staff.
      Reading between the lines on his previous media responses.

      Matt Taylor needs to go. Defense has been terrible under him. Can’t imagine why Aus would want him…they have the exact same issue in that they are good in attack and poor in defense.

  5. Big Al on

    Having thought about it for a bit longer, and given that he now has the job, need to give Wilson the benefit of the doubt and see how he gets on. Still worried about the knock-ons with all the other coaches in the set-up.

    Also a bit worried about whether we can attract players in to Glasgow with Wilson in charge. I guess if we keep the style and success they will come. Rennie was a landmark signing with a known pedigree and a reputation for player development and just the kind of guy you want in place if you are trying to attract players in whilst developing your youth. Slightly frustrated that the SRU didn’t give him the cash to bring in one or two more kilted Kiwis, or South Africans to bolster the team. Doubly frustrated now as it looks like there might be some cash from the Pro14 deal.

  6. Sam Laycock on

    On Rennie for all the good he did with the youngsters, Hogg and Russel have both left under him and Jones has been marginalised are Glasgow really in a better position now than when he arrived? Surely Wilson won’t be on the wages of Rennie and having offloaded Hogg and Rennie there must be some room in the budget to sign a decent couple of players. Wilson has his work cut out to convince the doubters after a terrible stint with Scotland. I had to laugh at Dodson quote

    “Danny has worked hard to develop Scotland’s set-piece into a real area of strength.”

    hmm must have missed that amongst the endless lost lineouts, sacked mauls and scrum penalties.

    • NorthI127 on

      Hogg allegedly left to double his salary (he will presumably be one of the 2 players Chiefs are allowed outside the everyone but Sarries cap) and Russell for 2.1M (euros) over 3 years to live in Paris. One of the posters on here stated a few months ago (suggesting a Warriors player source) that Rennie was happy to let Jones go when the Leicester rumours were circulating last autumn but the SRU insisted he stay in Scotland. Could all be hearsay. Not fair to imply Rennie was a significant reason that Russell and Hogg left.

      • Sam Laycock on

        I just don’t buy the idea that the SRU is signing/resigning players against the head coach’s wishes. Rennie says the pack is better equipped to go toe to toe with the best in Europe now. How? Based on what? There is no depth in the front or back row. How much longer are guys like Jackson, DTH, Matawalu, Swinson, Harley, Fusaro, Rae, P. Horne and Gibbins going to be able to keep dragging the team through the international windows? They might beat La Rochelle at home but that’s the only other champions Cup game I see them winning this year and will struggle to make the Pro 14 play offs. The wider squad outside the first 15 has become a dad’s army, either too green or too old under Rennie. Danny Wilson will have to completely rebuild in his first couple of years.

  7. Grant on

    Some wag on the BBC hys suggesting the checkout assistant in the murrayfield store ( oh that scratches fingers down the blackboard at the same time as biting on a bit of kit kat wrapper – it’s Scotland , it’s an effing shop ) was next in line for the defence coach role based on the sru internal promotion system
    Still that 70 grand doesn’t find itself

  8. Fraser on

    For me Rennie has disappointed at Glasgow and the team looks weaker than it did when he took over. Lack of decent signings this year especially at fullback is baffling and I don’t feel he has managed some of the players very well.

    Positives are a few young guys that have come through but presumably they were on the way already.

    Personally I don’t care if the coach is a big name, it’s results that count and I guess we will have to wait and see how Wilson gets on. Head coach is a very different position to forwards coach.

    On Taylor, I hope he goes with Rennie as Scotlands defence is a disaster and needs someone new to come in and try and get it right.

  9. Johnny b on

    Scotland have to be clever with resources and it’s probably easier for the national team to attract CVs from big name forward coaches than for Glasgow to get a big name head coach.

    Wilson clearly has the creds to lead Glasgow, so despite the inevitable cynicism this move has provoked among some fans, making the acquisition of a top notch experienced coach a job for the national team rather than Glasgow is probably shrewd.

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