Danny Wilson’s arrival as head coach at Glasgow Warriors has been brought forward by a month to 1st June, with his predecessor Dave Rennie being released from his contract early so that he can take up his new role overseeing the Australia national team.

While the 2019-20 PRO14 season is still officially ongoing, there has not been any action in the league since 1st March, and any conclusion to the campaign is certain to not only be in truncated form but also take place after the initial handover date between Wilson and Rennie of 1st July has passed. It has therefore been decided that the change should take place now so that the new man can get to work on assembling his squad for the 2020-21 season, whenever that might kick-off.

Wilson’s appointment was originally announced back in November. He has spent the previous two seasons as forwards coach of Scotland, during which time the national side have struggled to hit the same highs as in Gregor Townsend’s first season in charge, which has raised questions about whether he is the right individual to now push Glasgow Warriors forward.

Anxiety amongst Warriors fans about what the future holds has been increased by the lack of action from the club in the recruitment market in recent months. Several players have signed contract extensions, but the only new faces unveiled so far have been second-row Richie Gray, returning to the club after eight seasons playing in England and France, and Argentinean prop Enrique Pierreto from Exeter Chiefs on a two-year deal.


Meanwhile, the confirmed departures of several senior players – including DTH van der Merwe, Rory Hughes, Matt Smith, Ruaridh Jackson, Tim Swinson and club co-captain Callum Gibbins – leaves the squad thin on the ground in several key areas.


Wilson’s early arrival is expected to be the precursor of some recruitment updates, although the current financial position of Scottish Rugby means that fans should not be holding their breath in anticipation of a raft of blockbuster announcements.


“The original plan was for Danny to come in after the Guinness Six Nations and shadow Dave and his coaching team for the rest of this campaign," explained Warriors Managing Director Nathan Bombrys. “However, given that the 2019-20 season remains suspended for the foreseeable future, we felt that the best thing for the club would be to let Danny get started.


“With sport in Australia planning to return soon, making the change now will also allow Dave to begin his new role as head coach of the Australian national team.

“We are grateful to Dave for everything he has done for our club over the past three seasons, and particularly for how he has been supportive of the current situation, as well as his willingness to share his vast coaching knowledge with all of our coaches.

“When Dave and Stephanie are able to safely make the journey home, they will leave with the best wishes of everyone at Glasgow Warriors.

“Should we get the opportunity to conclude the 2019-20 season, we will do so under the guidance of Danny Wilson. Danny has already been hard at work planning the squad and preparing for the new season, under highly unusual circumstances, and we are all looking forward to working with him over the coming seasons.”

Wilson is a man with a point to prove, and says he is determined to hit the ground running.

“My sincere thanks goes to Dave for providing me with an extensive handover that has allowed for this early transition," he said. “Dave, his staff and players have done a great job, leading the squad to the 2018-19 Guinness PRO14 final, and leaves a solid platform to develop this squad from for the future.

“We’re now looking forward to getting back to rugby and starting training as soon as is safe to do so.”

Rennie wished his successor well.  “With no rugby to be played in the next few weeks, it makes sense for Danny to take charge now," he said.

“The original plan was for Danny to immerse himself in the club after the Guinness Six Nations to assist with the transition but that obviously hasn’t been possible.

“I’ve been impressed with Danny. He has used the past couple of months well, spoken a lot to staff and players and is in a position to put his stamp on things. I know he’ll do a great job and he’s highly regarded by our Scottish internationals.”

Scottish Rugby CEO Mark Dodson said: “I’d like to thank Dave for the work and development he has put into Glasgow Warriors over the past three seasons.

“He has brought on a young, exciting group of players at Glasgow over that period, reached a Guinness PRO14 final and led his coaching group at the club superbly. I’d like to wish him and his family all the best for the future and his new role with Australia.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Danny bring his excellent coaching experience to the club and begin making his own mark on the squad as we look to resume rugby activity in the coming weeks and months.”