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'He's still working with us for the next nine months': Scotland ready to make Ulster wait for McFarland

A solution is needed to stop a sense of transition seeping in to the first half of Ulster’s season.

Image: Inpho/Billy Stickland

SCOTLAND HEAD COACH Gregor Townsend says future Ulster head coach Dan McFarland will remain in his current role until 21 January 2019.

Last Monday, Ulster announced the appointment of Scotland forwards coach McFarland as replacement for Les Kiss and Jono Gibbes.

While accepting the role as Ulster head coach, a role he would ideally take up before the new season in September, McFarland triggered a nine-month notice period with Scotland, who will be Ireland’s Pool A rivals  at the 2019 World Cup.

The SRU have signalled an intent to play hardball with their contract and, after naming his squad to tour North America and Argentina today, Townsend insisted he was ready to work alongside McFarland and interim forwards coach Carl Hogg until the Six Nations was mere weeks away.

“It’s disappointing. It always is when someone you work closely with moves away, but it’s obviously an opportunity for Dan to become a head coach and we’ll have to adapt and move on,” Townsend told BBC Sport.

“He’s still working with us for the next nine months and he’ll be on tour.

“Carl Hogg’s joined us for our coaching meetings and him and Dan will share responsibilities on this tour.

Gregor Townsend before the game Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“We see that working well, but we need to look ahead and see who will replace Dan when he does go to Ulster. The plan is nine months, which is 21 January, before the Six Nations, and we have to have someone in before then.”

For the June Tests against Canada, United States and Argentina, Townsend has named Stuart McInally captain of a 33-man squad with an average age of 25.

There are six uncapped players in the group including Adam Hastings, son of Scottish legend Gavin, Harlequins’ James Lang and Edinburgh duo Lewis Carmichael and Jamie Ritchie.

Tom Prydie Tom Prydie was in flying form against the Cheetahs on Saturday. Source: Alex Davidson/INPHO

Meanwhile, Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named Cardiff Blues scrum-half Tomos Williams as the only uncapped member of his squad for next month’s Tests against Argentina and South Africa.

Cory Hill and Ellis Jenkins are installed as co-captains for the tour, while 35-year-old Luke Charteris is back among Gatland’s second row options.

Scarlets wing Tom Prydie is another notable recall eight years on from becoming his country’s youngest ever international. He will hope to bridge a five-year gap between his fifth and sixth cap.

Scotland squad for June tour 2018:

Forwards: Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, Magnus Bradbury, Fraser Brown, Lewis Carmichael, Allan Dell, David Denton, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Richie Gray, Luke Hamilton, Murray McCallum, Stuart McInally (captain), Jamie Ritchie, Tim Swinson, George Turner, Ben Toolis.

Backs: Nick Grigg, Chris Harris, Adam Hastings, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Alex Dunbar, Stuart Hogg, George Horne, Pete Horne, Ruaridh Jackson, Lee Jones, Blair Kinghorn, James Lang, Byron McGuigan, Ali Price, Duncan Taylor.

Wales squad for June tour 2018:

Forwards: Rob Evans, Alun Wyn Jones, Nicky Smith, Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Samson Lee, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Bradley Davies, Seb Davies, Luke Charteris, Cory Hill (co-captain) James Davies, Ellis Jenkins (co-captain), Ross Moriarty, Josh Navidi, Aaron Shingler.

Backs: Aled Davies, Gareth Davies, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Rhys Patchell, Hadleigh Parkes, Owen Watkin, Scott Williams, Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Steff Evans, George North, Tom Prydie.

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Sean Farrell

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