Gregor Townsend will have been Scotland coach for nine years by the time his new contract extension expires – a pretty lengthy time for a senior post these days.

But the 50-year-old is in no hurry to move on to pastures new, and, at an age when many coaches think of swapping a tracksuit for a blazer and a new life as a sports administrator, Townsend believes that he still has a lot to give as a coach – and that coaching still has a lot to give him.

“I love the job,” he said after signing that extension, which runs until April 2026. “There’s challenges, ups and downs with it, but it gives me a huge sense of purpose. And more than that, the people that you work with give me joy. I love coming in and spending time with the coaches.

“We’ve got a real good dynamic within that coaching group of people that are very good at their jobs, really good at collaborating, but also like a laugh. I really enjoy that side of it.

“I feel that there is more to come. We’ve shown a way of playing that, the more we spend time together and start to refine it and get more accurate, then the rewards will grow. I’m sure every coach will say that, but I really believe in this group that we have that, they can do that.

“When I didn’t think I was going to get a contract extension, I had chats with those close to me,” he continued when asked about his future ambitions. “I said to my wife, I said to others, that I wanted to stay in coaching. This hasn’t put me off not being a coach.

“Where that would end up, who knows? I’m delighted it’s ended up here.

“But I feel that’s what gives me the drive. I think about it a lot. It gives me huge purpose, especially this job more than any other. And it might be hard to get that same sense of purpose in a different job when you’ve been a Scot working with the national team.

“But I’d still get the joy of coaching again. But that’s for another day.”

Around the turn of the year, when it was uncertain if Scottish Rugby would offer Townsend a new deal, there were a couple of indications of interest from France, one from the national team, another from one of his former clubs.

“The one [from] the French national team just seemed a bit . . . The timing was strange. I think it was in mid-December and it was like, ‘We’re going to be playing you guys in a month’s time’.

“So there was no way there was going to be any more commitment to that. And it ended up just being more a conversation about coaching.

“So I never really thought about that again, because we were in France, and once you got on to the Six Nations, that was the big focus. So nothing really evolved after that.

“I think if there wasn’t going to be a contract offer here then yeah, France would have been an option, maybe at club level. It was a time where I had really good memories from playing, and obviously the French club game is thriving just now. But there was no need to start thinking down that path much more.”

Townsend has always been interested in taking new ideas from other sports, and recently visited Celtic’s training ground at Lennoxtown to chat with manager Ange Postecoglou. He thinks the champions and his own team have a few things in common.

“It was good. I watched them train, they were very welcoming. Ange had met me before training and then I went to his office for a couple of hours’ chat about coaching philosophy and his coaching journey.

“It was great. Just getting his philosophy on when he comes to a new club and what he’s looking for. It was good, you pick up things, even picking things from their training - maybe things in the back of your mind get re-ignited.

“And I believe you take similarities away. They’ve got a game that they believe in and we’ve got a game that we believe in as well. It’s high-paced attack, it means that the guys have to be skilful, fit, and accurate. When you can get those things right, you can cause the opposition problems.”