Townsend snubs lure of Lions

F1 British Grand Prix – Valtteri Bottas pole position lap

Gregor Townsend has confirmed his decision to turn down the opportunity to join the British and Irish Lions coaching staff for 2017's tour.

Townsend, who will take over as Scotland coach next June, admitted that the timing was not ideal and the reason he chose to snub the job.

"It's a case of timing," he told Scottish Rugby's official website.

"I feel hugely privileged to be given the Scotland job and our first opportunity to work with the players is at the same time as the Lions tour.

"I was approached a couple of weeks ago – and I was obviously flattered – but my priority now is Glasgow and at, the end of the season, Scotland are going on tour, so that’s the priority then.

"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 to Australia is my number one priority at the end of this season.

"At international level you don’t get that much access with the players. This is the most access you’ll get with them. On a tour you get to work with them, preparing them and spending time with them, so that’s the biggest factor."