Scotland capture Johnson
December 27, 2011
Scott Johnson helped the Ospreys to victory in the Magners League Grand Final in 2010 © Getty Images
Scott Johnson will leave Ospreys at the end of this season to join the Scotland coaching set-up, the Scottish Rugby Union confirmed on Tuesday.
Ospreys had made the initial announcement that Johnson would depart his role as coaching director once his three-year contract expires. And it has been revealed the 49-year-old will join Scotland head coach Andy Robinson's support staff. The former Wales coach will become senior assistant coach to Robinson and will be on board in time for the June tour to Australia, Fiji and Samoa. Johnson took up his role with Swansea-based region Ospreys in April 2009 and is a former Australia assistant coach and United States head coach.
The Australian fits the bill in terms of the experienced coaching team Robinson wants as Scotland look to improve on recent results, having failed to reach the World Cup quarter-finals this year.
Robinson said: "I am delighted Scott has agreed to join the Scotland coaching team. I have huge respect for him as a coach and a person having coached against him on numerous occasions."
Johnson is eager to embrace the prospect of a return to the international game, although he will have to wait until after the Six Nations to have a hands-on role. He said: "I'm excited by this challenge. Scotland is a country with a great history in rugby and with Andy there's a real focus point to get it back to where it belongs on the world stage by creating something new and brighter."
Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson explained the role Johnson plays will not be restricted to drills on the rugby field. Dodson said: "I believe this is a significant appointment for Scottish Rugby.
"In addition to working with Andy and the national management team, we are finalising an important wider role for Scott in helping us to better identify Scottish-qualified talent around the world."
The Ospreys were Heineken Cup quarter-finalists and Magners League champions during Johnson's first full season in charge. Although they are again well placed in this season's domestic league, a Heineken Cup pool stage exit beckons next month following home and away defeats against English champions Saracens.
Explaining his departure, Johnson said: "I feel that now is the right time for me to move on to other challenges, but I remain 100 per cent committed to the Ospreys between now and the end of the season."
Johnson informed Ospreys directors of his decision ahead of Boxing Day's Welsh derby defeat against the Scarlets. Ospreys chief operations officer Andrew Hore described Johnson's departure as "a huge disappointment".
Hore added: "He will be sadly missed by everybody at the Ospreys when he moves on, but by informing us of his intentions at this early stage, it allows us to use this time to consider our next course of action and the options available to us as we plan for the future."
The Ospreys saw three of their Wales internationals - Mike Phillips, James Hook and Lee Byrne - move to French club rugby earlier this year, but under Johnson's guidance, promising young players have continued to be discovered and developed.
Ospreys managing director Roger Blyth said: "The work he has put in over the last three years will ensure that the Ospreys continue to be known as a centre of excellence in development terms."
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