GREGOR Townsend has put pen to paper on a contract extension as head coach of Scotland until 2021. 

The former British and Irish Lion's coaching staff of Matt Taylor and Mike Blair have also been handed new deals by Scottish Rugby. 

Townsend has enjoyed a successful start to his reign since making the move to Murrayfield from Glasgow Warriors last summer.

Wins home and away to Australia last year were followed by a Calcutta Cup triumph over England in the 2018 Six Nations, one of a hat-trick of victories for the Scots as they finished in third place. 

Eye-catching attacking rugby has been a hallmark of a team that has averaged four tries per Test since Townsend took charge and the 45-year-old has targeted further improvement after adding one more year to his original deal.

“I have always been incredibly proud to coach Scotland and I’m delighted and grateful to be able to extend my involvement with the national team," he said. 

“It’s a privilege to coach such a hardworking group of quality players, which is continuing to grow in depth.

"It’s great that the immediate future of our coaching staff has also been secured, as Matt (Taylor) and Mike (Blair) contribute massively to what we do as a group.

“We are really looking forward to Danny (Wilson) joining up with us, which will enable us to seek further improvements in how we can bring the best out of our players."

Scotland recorded wins over Argentina and Canada over the summer either side of a shock defeat to the USA. 

Their next challenge comes in the Autumn, when the Scots face Wales in Cardiff before Fiji, South Africa and Argentina visit Murrayfield.

Townsend added: "There’s certainly a lot of improvement to be found – both from us as coaches and also our playing performances – but we’ve also seen some excellent displays over the past season, as well as a genuine desire from the players to give their best for their country.

“I’ve been really pleased with the way the squad has come together whenever we’ve been in camp. The players have built strong relationships with each other, trained with intensity and learned quickly after any setbacks we have faced. They have also been terrific ambassadors for their country on tours or whenever they have interacted with our supporters.

“We’re well aware we’re entering a crucial and exciting time for this group, as we continue to seek improvements across the board and target a strong Autumn Test series and Six Nations, before our build up to the Rugby World Cup begins in earnest. It’s an incredibly exciting time for the sport in Scotland."