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Townsend makes big statement about his Scotland future

SPOTLIGHT: Gregor Townsend indicated he would be prepared to extend his tenure as Scotland coach after his team ended the Six Nations with an encouraging 26-14 win over Italy at Murrayfield.

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Saturday’s bonus-point success ensured Scotland finished the Championship with a record of three wins and two defeats, their only losses coming against title-contenders France and Ireland.

Townsend, however, is out of contract following the World Cup in France later this year, with Scotland’s rivals for the two quarterfinal places out of an extremely tough Pool B including No.1 one-ranked Ireland and reigning world champions South Africa.

The 49-year-old Townsend said in January this could be his last Six Nations at the helm as he had then held no talks with the Scottish Rugby Union about his future.

But when the former Scotland playmaker was asked about his future after the Italy game, which all but assured the Dark Blues of a third-placed finish, he said there had been fresh discussions with officials and he expected some clarity “soon”.

“I’ve had initial conversations the last couple of weeks, but it’s about getting some time over the next few weeks to have a bigger chat about it in more depth,” Townsend said.

“The focus last two weeks has been these games. After a few days off I’m sure these conversations will start up again.

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“I’ve indicated I need some time to think about it, especially when the tournament was in full flow. I’ll have some reflecting and time off and I’m sure the discussions will start again soon.”

Asked if he wanted to stay on, Townsend – linked with other coaching positions in recent months – replied: “Yes, at this stage, but it’s not the time to be answering these questions.

“When you’re just off a victory, the crowd are behind the team and you’re connected with the players, of course it’s a great feeling, but I don’t want to commit to anything right now,” he added after a match where flyhalf Blair Kinghorn, starting in place of injured Scotland star Finn Russell, scored a hat-trick of tries.

“There’s conversations that have started and I imagine they will start up again after some time off. Those weren’t happening a few months ago so we’ll see how they develop.

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“Honestly, I’ve tried to put this to the side. Your brain has only so much capacity on one thing and that for me is to do the best I can as the team’s coach.”

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