Matt Taylor, Glasgow Warriors' new defence coach, aims to do his parents proud as he prepares for his first competitive match.

The Australian-born former Edinburgh and Border Reivers player who won A caps for Scotland a decade ago, holds a British passport because his parents, who emigrated in the sixties, hail from Fife.

He knows his arrival in the Scottish professional game has been somewhat controversial, as he replaces two men who were generally considered to have done a good job: Graham Steadman, who was Scotland's defence coach, and Gary Mercer, who filled that role for Glasgow Warriors.

He is, though, relishing the challenge. "The exciting thing for me is that I have the opportunity to have an impact in Scottish rugby," he said yesterday of his dual role as Glasgow and Scotland defence coach. "It is an honour and a privilege to be part of the Scotland set-up and I will certainly be looking to reproduce the success I had at the Reds with both Scotland and Glasgow."

A friend of Gregor Townsend, whose appointment as Glasgow's head coach this year came as a major surprise after an relatively fruitless spell as attack coach with the national side, Taylor has, by contrast, enjoyed considerable success in the professional game.

He worked as defence coach with Queensland Reds as they improved from 13th in the Southern Hemisphere's Super Rugby provincial competition the previous season to fifth in his first campaign, before going on to win their first title last year, conceding just one try in each of their winning performances in the semi-final and final.

"Defensively they were at rock bottom when I came on board and we worked hard to turn them into a really good defensive unit," said Taylor. "Two years ago at the Reds, we were not turning over a lot of ball and were not really slowing down the opposition; within two years we were the best team or second best team in the conference at slowing teams down and we had turned over most of all in the competition. We went from worst to the best in two years through effort, measuring the players and having a real emphasis on it. That is what I hope to do here and at Scotland."

A major difference is that Glasgow's defence was the best in the RaboDirect Pro12 last season in terms of points conceded, although he still believes there is scope for improvement.

"I caught up with the Glasgow players when they were in Australia and went through a process of start-stop-keep kind of thing," he said. "What is working well defensively? What did they think they need to change? What can we improve on?" said Taylor. "We will definitely be keeping some aspects of what they were doing; they did a tremendous job last year defensively, which is a great credit to the team and the coaching staff.

"I will also be implementing one or two little things that I have had success with in the past. The guys have really bought into it and I think we can take it up a couple of levels over the next season or two.

"Like any team, you want to get some improvement from the players. We have some greater tacklers – you look at the likes of John Barclay and Chris Fusaro. When you have 15 players in the team who can all tackle then you are a really hard team to stop.

"We will be drilling that technique and will focus on low tackling and dominating the space beyond the tackle in that contest. That is an area we can target for improvement. The best teams in the world make that post-tackle area really hard to be."