Phillip Doyle has stood down from his role as the head coach of Scotland Women as he continues to shield from coronavirus on medical grounds
The Irishman’s contract was due to end in December, but he has decided to vacate his position early following a period of furlough leave, with assistant Bryan Easson taking over the side as interim head coach for the remainder of 2020.
It is another blow for Scotland Women, who fulfilled just two matches of their Six Nations campaign this year before the tournament was abandoned due to coronavirus.
The side were also due to play Ireland and Italy in Rugby Europe’s World Cup 2021 qualification tournament next month, but that has been pushed back until December in light of the pandemic. Rugby Europe announced on Monday that Scotland's delayed Six Nations fixture against Italy - which is due to take place on December 5 - will double up as the first leg of their European qualifier for next year's tournament.
Doyle, 55, who took charge of Scotland in April 2019 before overseeing a historic autumn series in South Africa — the first on Springbok soil for six years and Scotland’s first in the southern hemisphere — said it was “frustrating” not to continue in his role but “the right thing to do” for the team going forward.
“I have greatly enjoyed working with the team and feel we’re making good progress on and off the pitch as a group,” he added. “I will miss being with the players and wish them well in the games ahead and will be watching with interest.
Gemma Fay, Scottish Rugby’s head of the women and girls’ game, said: “I would like to thank Philip for his significant contribution to the development of the Scotland women’s team during his time as head coach and he will be missed by all of us connected to the team.
“It is obviously disappointing he is unable to continue his role at a key time in the team’s preparations ahead of qualification for the 2021 Rugby World Cup, but the Covid-19 crisis has put many things in perspective and clearly Philip’s health must be the priority here and we would not want him to compromise that in any way.”
Scotland are due to resume their Six Nations campaign on October 24 against France, followed by fixtures with Wales and Italy.