Scotland confirm Vern Cotter as new head coach
New Zealander will take up job in June 2014 after Clermont contract finishes
Clermont Auvergne coach Vern Cotter will take up the Scotland job in June 2014. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Vern Cotter has been confirmed as the next head coach of Scotland, although the Clermont Auvergne head coach but will not take charge until next summer.
The Scottish Rugby Union today announced the 51-year-old would begin his role in June 2014, when his contract at the French club expires.
SRU chief executive Mark Dodson said: “We always knew we would secure Vern’s services from June 2014, until then, he will be on hand to assist Scott Johnson and the Scotland coaching team with advice during the autumn Tests in November and the 2014 RBS SixNations Championship before joining us full-time as head coach ahead of our summer tour next year.”
The SRU announced earlier this month that interim head coach Johnson would make way when it had found a permanent successor to Andy Robinson, who quit after defeat by Tonga in November last year.
Johnson was appointed director of rugby but he will continue in charge of the team for a second Six Nations campaign before making way for Cotter to have more than a full year in the post to prepare for the 2015 World Cup.
Cotter led Clermont to the Heineken Cup final and the French Top 14 play-offs this season before revealing after a semi-final defeat in the latter to Castres this weekend that next season would be his last at the club.
Cotter joined Clermont in 2006 after being part of the coaching team that helped Canterbury Crusaders to consecutive Super Rugby titles. He was also responsible for bringing Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to the French club in 2007.
Dodson added: “We are delighted to have secured the services of a coach of Vern’s pedigree for the Scotland team.
“Vern is rightly regarded as one of the top coaches in the world and to have secured someone of his calibre is a coup for Scotland.
“He was our first choice as head coach and we are pleased to have secured him on a two-year contract taking us up to and beyond the Rugby World Cup 2015.
“We compiled a shortlist of world-class candidates last December and Vern was top of that list.
“We did our business with Vern some months ago and we believe we have the best man for the role with our national team. It’s a measure of our standing that we have him on board.
“We delayed our announcement out of respect to Clermont and Vern as they prepared for the two most important games in their season. We are satisfied that we conducted our business in an honourable fashion and are sure Clermont appreciated our discretion.”
In an SRU statement, Cotter said: “I’m absolutely thrilled and honoured to have been appointed to the role of Scotland head coach.
“Mark Dodson and the team at Scottish Rugby have a strategic vision and a determination to do something very special in the coming time and working with them and a talented group of players and coaches I look forward to the Scotland team growing in competitiveness and stature. We will build a winning team together.
“I have been in regular contact with Mark and Scott Johnson in recent weeks and I’m delighted that Jonathan Humphreys has joined the coaching team.
“I very much look forward to joining Scotland and until I do permanently I will be on hand to support Scott and the coaches with any advice and support they need.”
Johnson led Scotland to a third-placed finish in the Six Nations and advised the SRU on the recruitment process.
The Australian said: “I believe this is a real coup for Scottish Rugby. Vern Cotter is a top rugby coach who is amongst the most highly-regarded coaches in the world.”
Cotter led Clermont to the European Challenge Cup in his first season in charge and the French title in 2010 after a hat-trick of second-placed finishes.