Scotland hooker Scott Lawson will retire from playing after a distinguished career both sides of the border at the end of the season and will be the new Director of Rugby at the University of St Andrews.
The 47-times capped Lawson won a recall to international duty at the age of 36 this spring, winning a place in the Scotland Six Nations squad and bench duty in the first two internationals.
Lawson has already a growing reputation as a coach, having been a specialist skills adviser to Scotland age-group teams and having been director of coaching at Tynedale in the English National Two North while he was in the latter years of his playing career at Newcastle Falcons.
This is his first step into full-time coaching, and he said he was delighted at the challenge of heading the rugby programme at such a prestigious university.
“The traditions of the past along with the current world class facilities and vision for the future for all sport at St Andrews add to my excitement in leading what is an already successful rugby programme,” he said.
Lawson ends a varied and hugely successful playing career that started at Biggar RFC in Lanarkshire and led to two World Cups for Scotland, scoring a try in the opening match of the 2007 tournament against Portugal.
His other try for Scotland was on his debut against Romania in Bucharest, Frank Hadden’s first game as head coach, in 2005. After winning his 46th cap in Vern Cotter’s first home game against Argentina in 2014, Lawson was left out of the Scotland team for four years before Gregor Townsend recalled him this spring.
He won his final cap as a replacement in the Opening Six Nations loss to Wales in Cardiff in February.
Lawson proved a reliable and durable playter in the front line for a succession of clubs in the professional game. Starting with Glasgow Warriors, he then played for Sale Sharks, Gloucester, London Irish and latterly Newcastle for the last four seasons, helping the Falcons reach the Aviva Premiership play-offs this year.
“With the season we’ve had it feels like now is the moment to call it a day from playing,” he continued.
“It’s culminating for me in a Premiership semi-final and hopefully a final, and the club is in great hands.”
St Andrews Director of Sport Stephen Stewart said:
“To have a world renowned international athlete of Scott Lawson’s calibre wanting to be a part of the sport programme at St Andrews is recognition of where the University is now placed within the sports sector.
“As one of the world’s leading Universities, and top ranked University in Scotland, our ambition is to make a significant impact within international student sport, and provide a platform to enhance further the unique student experience that underpins our world-class teaching and research.
“We very much look forward to welcoming Scott into our team and benefiting from his vast experience from an extensive career in professional and international sport.
“When a world-class sports person meets a world-class institution it can only lead to great things.”