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Alan Solomons tips Glasgow boss Gregor Townsend as future Scotland head coach

Published 24/12/2015

Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons, pictured, has praised his Glasgow counterpart Gregor Townsend
Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons, pictured, has praised his Glasgow counterpart Gregor Townsend

Alan Solomons believes he will be pitting his wits against a future Scotland head coach when his Edinburgh side host Glasgow on Sunday.

The South African has only the highest respect for Warriors boss Gregor Townsend after he masterminded last year's Guinness Pro12 triumph.

And he believes his Scotstoun counterpart has all the skills required to transfer his success on the club stage to the international scene.

Speaking before Edinburgh host Townsend's team at Murrayfield for the first leg of the 1872 Cup, Solomons said: "One advantage that Gregor has is that he has played in various parts of the world. He played in France, he played in England and he played in South Africa, so he even has a Southern Hemisphere influence.

"He was an excellent player and that has helped him too. He's an intelligent bloke.

"He's a really good coach and I think that's being recognised now.

"He certainly has the ability to coach Scotland and those decisions will be made by the SRU but he certainly has the ability to one day take on that job."

Leading the Dark Blues will have to wait, however, with Sunday's battle in Edinburgh top of Townsend's immediate priorities.

Edinburgh claimed the trophy last year with a 26-24 aggregate win but Glasgow - who had enjoyed a five-year stint of dominance before last year's surprise defeat - are determined to wrestle it back.

Townsend says he may have to spice up his game plan in an effort to break through Edinburgh's defence - the meanest in the Pro12 - but Solomons believes the match will not be defined by the coaches' tactical tinkering.

"I've never looked at it like that," said Solomons ahead of the fixtures, which also have league points at stake.

"It's not about the coaches. I haven't paid too much attention to what Gregor's said. He's a good bloke and an excellent coach and I'm sure his side will be well prepared.

"But I have no doubt the match will come down to what the players do and not the coaches."

Edinburgh delivered a double Christmas present to fans ahead of the game by securing Scotland pair Alasdair Dickinson and Ben Toolis on extended contracts.

Dickinson, who returned to Edinburgh in 2013 following spells at Gloucester and Sale, has signed a three-year deal beyond next summer.

The 32-year-old loosehead prop said: "There's a special place in your heart for your first team - I went away to try to push myself out of my comfort zone and test myself in another environment, meet new players and coaches in a different league.

"Then I thought the time was right for me to come back and share my experiences with the players here to help push Edinburgh forward. We're not exactly where we want to be yet but I want to help Scottish rugby and help some of the youngsters coming through.

"Our run in the Challenge Cup last year was pretty good and we've had some remarkable wins. We have a great group of lads who work hard and are pretty humble."

Brisbane-born lock Toolis has committed his future until summer 2018.

The 23-year-old, who is on the bench on Sunday after recovering from an elbow injury, said: "Coming over here from Australia it was a completely different environment so finding my feet here, getting game time, being able to take my opportunity and playing with the boys day in day out has been something special. There's such a good team ethos here at the club.

"In some teams there may be one or two people you don't get along with but everyone here at Edinburgh gets along so well, they're here to help each other out, everyone respects each other as players and that's what you need in a team to be successful."

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