Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend open to investment

Glasgow Warriors celebrate
Glasgow have started the season with two wins out of four

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend is "open" to a change in ownership and external investment at Scotland's professional clubs.

Scottish Rugby has called a special general meeting on 28 October, when member clubs can vote on a rule change.

The union is asking members to allow it to put the country's two professional teams up for sale. Both currently play in the Pro12.

"It's really positive news," said Townsend.

"We've got to look at as many options as possible to keep the success of Glasgow going.

"So, if that's a different funding model, investment, any other sort of model, then we have to be open to that, to look at ways that we can build on what we're doing.

"Edinburgh are going through a transformation as well by moving out to Myreside to obviously get closer to their supporters.

Gregor Townsend
Townsend (right) has a vested interest in Glasgow's future as Scotland's next head coach

"Here, we had a lot of success with the move to Scotstoun [from Partick Thistle's Firhill Stadium].

"With that new pitch, stands all the way round, we've sold out our first two games of the season.

"There's a real viable product here - more than a product, there's an identity, an attachment that we have got with the city and it'd be great to be able to build on that.

"If you get more finance, there's a lot more things you can do, whether that's increasing your squad numbers, holding on to your players or bringing in one or two players that will give you that extra edge in those bigger games."

However, Townsend, who will replace Vern Cotter as Scotland head coach next year, insists any future investor must share the aims of Scottish Rugby in terms of serving the national team.

"We've got a really strong squad," Townsend explained. "We're very lucky with the support we get from Scottish Rugby.

"We've got 34 international players in our squad. There's not going to be many teams in Europe that have that.

"A lot of them are Scottish players and that's a big reason why we exist - to make sure that Glasgow, Edinburgh, the pro-teams give our players the opportunity to play against the best teams and develop and prepare to be better international players.

Henry Pyrgos
Henry Pyrgos is one of the Scotland internationals in Glasgow's squad

"But the other reason we exist is to have success and to grow. We've done that on a domestic scale, as in the Pro12, we've got to take that to the next level and do well in Europe.

"In terms of our recruitment, we've got to have one eye on making sure we're delivering better Scotland players for the national team. Any investment or future change of ownership would have that at the heart."

Glasgow's pursuit of reclaiming the Pro12 title they won in 2015 continues against Dragons in Wales on Friday evening.

In Ireland, Edinburgh will play their first match since the departure of Alan Solomons, against reigning Pro12 champions Connacht.

Townsend wished South African Solomons well and added: "I've enjoyed coaching against him. He's usually had the upper hand over the last couple of seasons.

"Obviously, I wish [acting head coach] Duncan Hodge all the best. He's got a big opportunity this weekend."

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