Former Otago and Highlanders coach Tony Gilbert will return to Dunedin to oversee the strategy and development of rugby in the province.

Chief executive Russell Gray said yesterday that Gilbert would be back in the city as early as June, once his contract with the Scottish Rugby Union expired at the end of May.

Gilbert, 60, would play a "mentor" and "father figure" role, providing technical assistance to coaches as well as liaising with clubs, other provinces and the New Zealand Rugby Union.

He would also be responsible for player retention, development and identification.