Scottish Rugby Still Has Confidence in Townsend Despite Recent Losses

Scottish Rugby Limited’s board aims to appoint a new chief executive to replace Mark Dodson by the first week of May. John McGuigan, the chairman of Scottish Rugby Limited’s board, will attend Six Nations and World Rugby meetings on a temporary basis. The executive team will pick up the load in terms of what needs to happen between now and the chief executive arriving. Mark Dodson won’t return to do any work with Scottish Rugby.

The board is down to a shortlist of five candidates. One person on that list could start in May, and three people who are on three months’ notice. McGuigan wants the chief executive to meet the performance director before the latter appointment is finalized to make sure they have the right chemistry.

The Search for a Performance Director

The board is searching for a performance director, and there aren’t many people who want to be performance directors. The board is down to the last two or three people to make a decision in terms of which way they should go. McGuigan wants the CEO to run the business and the performance director to run the rugby. These two things cross over at certain points.

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The performance director’s job is to make sure the pathway stuff really starts to work. The board’s biggest frustration at the moment is that they have a glaring gap in terms of their ability to develop players, and they need to sort that. Meanwhile, the CEO’s job is to work with McGuigan and the board to manage the cost base but principally drive more commercial success of the business and grow up the revenue number.

The Drive for More Cash

Scottish Rugby brought in just over £68m last year, a record amount. However, the organization still lost money, and McGuigan says they have to do more to raise revenue above £100m. It’s what they need to succeed; otherwise, it will be constantly cutting and compromising. McGuigan doesn’t know any other nation that’s done that on the back of just cutting costs. They need to find the revenue to do it.

The Nations Cup is another potential revenue stream, and they need to develop the stadium and commercial work harder than they are at the moment. They need to do a lot more on the commercial side. It’s an aspiration to get to £100m from where they are, but it’s not going to be in one leap. They need to get there to have a business that can continue to perform, where they can have the expectations they all want around winning things, having successful professional teams, supporting women’s rugby, making sure they have the right pathways and best coaches.

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Townsend Conducting Six Nations Review

Gregor Townsend, the Scotland head coach, is conducting a review of his side’s Six Nations performance, with input from outgoing performance director Jim Mallinder. This will be presented to Scottish Rugby’s board. McGuigan explained that Townsend is marking his own performance. The alternative to that is to bring someone in externally. They’re in the middle of a timing situation.

There will be plenty of opportunity when the new performance director comes in to have another look at the Six Nations and take the learnings from it. So, the important thing is to capture it all, and then the person coming in will be presented with that, and that will be something to work from. McGuigan is sure the person coming in will be pretty aware of where the focus needs to be.

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