SCOTT JOHNSON, the controversial Director of Rugby for the Scottish Rugby Union, is set to leave the organisation to take up the same role in his native Australia, according to a report in the Australian Daily Telegraph. An announcement on his appointment with Rugby Australia is expected early next week, the newspaper states.
The newspaper reported in its Thursday morning edition that –
“Rugby Australia secretly met with Johnson, who is currently working as Scotland’s director of rugby and has been credited for turning their on-field fortunes around, during the Wallabies recent Spring Tour of Europe, and have been working out a deal for his return home.
“The 56-year-old former Waratah has been coaching overseas for the last decade but is widely understood to want to return home.”
Wallabies head coach Michael Chieka has come under fire after winning only four of 13 matches played in 2018 and met the Australia Rugby Board on Monday, with his job apparently on the line.
The newspaper report added that –
“The arrangement is seen as the best compromise to Rugby Australia’s dilemma about whether to fire Cheika and pay him out or stick with him despite mounting criticism of the team’s rapid slide down the world rankings.”
Johnson arrived in Scotland as assistant national coach to Andy Robinson in June 2012 after spells working with the Welsh national team, the Australia national team during the 2007 World Cup and the Ospreys regional side.
He took over as interim head coach of the national team after Scotland’s shocking loss to Tonga at the end of the 2012 Autumn Test series and carried on in that role until Vern Cotter arrived in the summer of 2014. From May 2013, he shared that coaching role with his new permanent position as Director of Rugby for the SRU. His record as national team head coach was five wins and 11 defeats from 16 matches.
As Director of Rugby, he has overseen the creation of the Scottish Rugby Academy network which has been credited with significantly improving the flow of talented youngsters into the pro game, and he is also understood to be a sharp mover in the complex world of pro/international player recruitment.
However, a lack of clarity about his day-to-day role within the organisation, abrupt manner and clear aversion to any sort of scrutiny, has created a deficit in trust amongst certain groups in Scottish rugby.