Test Series

Townsend rejected Lions role

Incoming Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has turned down the chance to be part of Warren Gatland's staff for the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.

Gatland is yet to announce his coaching team for next year's tour, which will see the Lions play three Tests against the reigning world champions.

Glasgow Warriors coach Townsend has confirmed he was approached to take up a role within the touring party, but passed it up due to his commitments with Scotland.

The first task facing the 43-year-old when he replaces Vern Cotter in June is their own tour of Australia, so any Lions job would stop him taking up his new position. 

"Yes [I was approached], a couple of weeks ago, and I was obviously flattered by the approach, but my priority now is Glasgow and at the end of the season Scotland are going on tour so that's the priority then," he is quoted as saying by STV.

"To be approached was great and I'm sure Warren will talk about his coaching staff next week so I will leave him to talk about more details.

"It's a case of timing. I feel hugely privileged to be given the Scotland coaching job and our first opportunity to work with the players is at the same time as the Lions tour is going on so I'm looking forward to that.

"I had a good think and didn't give an immediate answer. I really wanted to reflect on what was involved, but I quickly realised that the Scotland tour of Australia is my number one priority at the end of this season."