Head coach Gregor Townsend is “honoured and privileged” to sign a two-year contract extension that will see him lead Scotland at the 2023 World Cup.

Having taken charge in 2017, Townsend’s six-year tenure will make him Scotland’s longest-serving head coach of the professional era.

The 82-cap former international has won 22 of his 40 Tests at the helm.

Townsend says Scotland’s “progress on and off the field” in the past year gives him “real grounds for optimism”.

He added: “I will be doing all I can, alongside an outstanding support staff, to improve the team as we build towards Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.”

Having left his role as Glasgow Warriors head coach to take the Scotland job, Townsend steered the national time to their highest world ranking of fifth in his debut season.

Scotland retained the Calcutta Cup for the first time in 35 years in 2019, but months later crashed out of the World Cup at the pool stage for only the second time.

Townsend’s men had gone five games unbeaten this year before defeat to France in the Autumn Nations Cup.

Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson said: “I’ve been impressed with how Gregor has refocused his approach over the last 12 months following the disappointing results at the RWC 2019 and believe he the right man to continue an anticipated upward trajectory of this group of players and coaches.”

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