AB Zondagh’s appointment as Scotland assistant coach confirmed

South African will focus on attack when he joins set-up in early September

Gregor Townsend has added AB Zondagh to his coaching team. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Gregor Townsend has added AB Zondagh to his coaching team. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

THE appointment of Alan-Basson [AB] Zondagh to Gregor Townsend’s Scotland management team has been confirmed, with the South African coach to focus on attack during the coming international season. He will begin work in early September, subject to visa.

The 35-year-old is making the switch after two years working with Toulouse, focussing on kicking, attack and skills development, having previously been a consultant with the side in 2018. He helped the club achieve the European and French Championship double last season.

He previously coached at the Sharks in his native South Africa, earning several promotions in skills and high performance roles from his first association in 2013 through to 2019.


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Zondagh fills a gap in the coaching roster created by Mike Blair’s move to take charge of Edinburgh this season.

“Mike has developed into an excellent coach and made a really positive contribution to the environment and improvement of the playing group in recent years, and I know all the Scotland management team wish him well in his new role at Edinburgh,” said Townsend.

“We are delighted to secure such a high-quality replacement for Mike and to bring AB into the Scotland coaching set-up. It is much appreciated that his current employers, Toulouse, have granted him an early release to come on board with us.

“AB has already had an impressive coaching career in two very different rugby nations. I believe that these experiences, and his approach to coaching, will help us and our players make further progress as we build towards the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

“The Autumn Test Series is just around the corner and will give our players and management team an opportunity to work with, and learn from, a new coach that has just worked at the highest level of European club rugby. AB will also be available as a skills resource coach for Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as with players at Academy level.”

 

Zondagh said: “I am honoured to be a part of a team with so much history and a rich rugby culture.

“I see this as a massive opportunity to work in international rugby with Gregor and the other Scotland coaches and one that I am very excited to take – it was a no-brainer really and I am looking forward to adding value to the group and the positive rugby the team play.

“I know rugby at that level comes with high pressure, but that is why we coach because we enjoy the pressure and enjoy winning.

“I’ll be moving my family to Scotland. I think it is important to know the people, the history, understand how people and the players think, feel the energy, making connections which get results and build relationship with everyone in the organisation.”


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About David Barnes 2991 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

12 Comments

  1. Strange, general question…., Ed! (Do you have an irritating Crick in your neck?) In truth, the answer could prove extremely lengthy and probably rather too complex for the average person, which could prove problematical!

    Let’s just say that because the organisation’s governance, operational / management culture and strategic approach are so fundamentally flawed that it is constrained from doing most things “right”. Although it might leave most (average) people flummoxed, we could expand upon that at another time, in another place, to an adequately qualified audience, as appropriate. But, hey – thank you for asking!

    Returning to “average” levels of communication, it is quite surprising that none of you preening smartasses on here has managed to pick up on (and correcting) article author David’s no doubt deliberate slip of the keyboard just to catch you out, demoting Gregor Townsend from his position as Scotland Head Coach. Back to school, laddie!

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  2. I don’t have a problem with foreign coaches, provided they add value. Certainly Tandy seems to have done a job on the Scottish defence. A lot of people mourned the passing of Big Vern, but time moves on and Scotland is now the only ‘home nation’ to have a born and bred national coach. An exciting opportunity for Blair to prove he can run a show in his own right. The new recruit has pedigree and with backs like Dobie, Price, Russell, Thompson, Redpath, Jones, Harris, Graham, VDM, Hogg and Hastings to work with it’s a great chance for him too. Heck, I’d even fancy it myself! Overall, I’m not too bothered – let’s see how he does and judge him on results, not where he’s from.

  3. I don’t have a problem with foreign coaches, provided they add value. Certainly Tandy seems to have done a job on the Scottish defence. A lot of people mourned the passing of Big Vern, but time moves on and Scotland is now the only ‘home nation’ to have a born and bred national coach. An exciting opportunity for Blair to prove he can run a show in his own right. The new recruit has pedigree and with backs like Dobie, Price, Russell, Thompson, Redpath, Jones, Harris, Graham, VDM, Hogg and Hastings to work with it’s a great chance for him too. Heck, I’d even fancy it myself! Overall, I’m not too bothered – let’s see how he does and judge him on results, not where he’s from.

  4. you mean like Blair? Or Townsend? Its not either or Ron.

    Funny how unions with far bigger resources than us have non national coaches. Remind me where Eng, Aus and Ireland head coaches come from.

    You pick the best available you can afford. Its that simple. You do that to try and make a very small rugby nation competitive, to generate cash to fund pro rugby and the rest. I remember only too well when the blazers had full control, the huge debt, the easy to get tickets for Murrayfield and we were going down the spiral.

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  5. Is this an early dividend from the SG / taxpayers’ bailout funding?
    Good luck to the chap, but aren’t we supposed to be developing our own coaching & playing talent?

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    • Well didn’t Townsend follow a successful career path in Scotland to become national coach? Blair following the same path and, if successful, is Townsends heir apparent? Record number of Scots with the Lions?
      Don’t you think Scottish rugby is doing something vaguely right?

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      • Strange, general question…. (Do you have an irritating Crick in your neck?) In truth, the answer could prove extremely lengthy and probably rather too complex for the average person, which could prove problematical!

        Let’s just say that because the organisation’s governance, operational / management culture and strategic approach are so fundamentally flawed that it is constrained from doing most things “right”. Although it might leave most (average) people flummoxed, we could expand upon that at another time, in another place, to an adequately qualified audience, as appropriate. But, hey – thank you for asking!

        Returning to “average” levels of communication, it is quite surprising that none of you preening smartasses on here has managed to pick up on (and correcting) article author David’s no doubt deliberate slip of the keyboard just to catch you out, demoting Gregor Townsend from his position as Scotland Head Coach. Back to school, laddie!

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