Dodson is said to judge Townsend on the team’s potential rather than past accomplishments

Dodson told the BBC Scotland rugby podcast he was “pleased but not pleased” with the national side’s third-place finish at this year’s Six Nations Championship, thanks to victories over England, Wales and Italy.

But he accepted that the players themselves wanted Townsend to stay. The 49-year-old manager, who has been in charge since Vern Cotter took over in 2017, is only under contract until after this autumn’s Rugby World Cup in France.

“This is a crucial decision for the union. We are now in the closing phase. We had a process this time – Gregor was aware of that – to figure out what the right voice is to move us forward from 2023,” Dodson said. “It was less about Gregor’s track record in tournaments leading up to the Six Nations and what’s right for this group of players going from ’23 to ’27. What is the right voice?

“As part of that, we did a tremendous amount of due diligence. We spoke to coaches around the world about how they see Scotland and how they would handle the task if they were able. We have completed this due diligence process.

“Gregor was clear to me from the start that we’re going to do it, we’re going to talk to coaches all over the world. He has also been free to talk to people about his own future and things have come out of talks that have taken place in France and possibly elsewhere.

“That is to be expected. It’s not his first rodeo and it’s not mine, we understand that’s the way the world works. I’ll speak to Gregor this week and we’ll see where we go.”

After leading Glasgow to the PRO12 title in 2015, Townsend was a sought-after coach and could easily have found work in France, where he spent five years as a player. But he decided the time was right to take over Scotland as then-Warriors players like Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell were nearing their peak. He accepted a corresponding offer in the summer of 2016 and took office a year later after Cotter’s contract expired.

CONTINUE READING: Peter Horne warns Glasgow Warriors to keep their feet on the ground

“We know how players feel,” Dodson continued. “The players have developed well under Gregor, we know that. What I have to do and what [SRU performance director] Jim Mallinder has to do, we have to sort this all out – what the fans are feeling, what the websites are feeling, what the players are almost feeling – and actually take a holistic look at it, cool and sober, and look at the paper. Which voice moves us best?

“How do we improve? How can we prevent this from being a glass ceiling? How do we get to the next level?

“If we believe that’s Gregor, or we believe that’s someone else, then that’s the job I’m paid to do. As for support for Gregor within the camp, that’s pretty clear.

“We’ve known each other a long time. We didn’t always agree. We have a very good working relationship but he is his own man and I am mine. The most important thing is that we have confidence and belief that we will do things right.”

Townsend said in January he had been approached by France about working with the national team but denied a rumor linking him with the Leicester Tigers.

“I received a call from France to ask if I was interested,” he said at a pre-championship press conference. “I said I wasn’t ready to go into any discussion ahead of the Six Nations. I had no contact with Leicester. At all. People may want to contact you or your agent because they know your contract is expiring and yes my contract is expiring at the end of the year.”

Auckland Blues manager Leon MacDonald is seen as one of the possible alternatives to Townsend, who said he wanted to remain in the post after beating Italy.

“I would like to stay at this stage, but this is probably not the right time to answer those questions,” he said. “I have indicated that I need some time to think and some downtime.” Dodson is said to judge Townsend on the team’s potential rather than past accomplishments

Russell Falcon

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