BORDERER Gregor Townsend has been awarded an honorary degree from Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University (RGU).

During RGU’s graduation ceremony at P&J Live in Aberdeen on Friday (July 7), Gregor was awarded a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in recognition of his services to rugby as a player and head coach.

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Professor Steve Olivier, principal and vice-chancellor, said: “Gregor has always made a huge impact on Scottish rugby, firstly as a player and more recently as head coach of the national team.

“It really is a fantastic honour for the university to be able to recognise a true sporting hero who has made a huge impact on rugby during his playing days with Scotland and a host of club teams across the world.

“Most recently, of course, he leads the current Scotland players to realise their own ambitions on the field of play and is doing a great job in doing so. He is without doubt someone students and the university community will be inspired by.”

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Townsend began his rugby life with Gala RFC before his playing career took him to England, France, South Africa, Australia and eventually back to the Borders before hanging his boots up in 2007.

He made more than 80 appearances in the dark blue of Scotland across a decade-long career which included winning the 1999 Five Nations Championship. The 50-year-old also pulled on the red shirt of the British and Irish Lions on six occasions during the 1997 tour of South Africa, starting in both test wins which secured the Lions’ victory.

Townsend carried on his rugby career as a coach once he finished playing and was part of the Scotland set up at Murrayfield for three years before joining Glasgow Warriors as head coach. At Glasgow he won their first-ever PRO12 title in 2015, a success that proved pivotal as he was soon given the top job for Scotland in 2017.

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Since, the Scotland team have been to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan; beaten England at Twickenham for the first in nearly 40 years; won in France for the first time this century; and finished in the top three of this Six Nations tournament.

All of these achievements came while Townsend was at the helm of the national team where he currently holds the highest win percentage over any of his predecessors.

The Borderer will be busy preparing the Scotland team for this year’s Rugby World Cup in France, with the side’s opening match against South Africa kicking off on September 10.