AB Zondagh exit leaves Scotland seeking new attack coach ahead of Rugby World Cup

AB Zondagh, the Scotland attack coach, looks to be on his way out of Murrayfield.

AB Zondagh was lured to the Scotland coaching team from Toulouse.  (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
AB Zondagh was lured to the Scotland coaching team from Toulouse. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

He is expected to return to the Top 14, with Lyon keen to hire the South African to work alongside Xavier Garbajosa. Reports from France suggest Zondagh could move in the summer, leaving Scotland looking for a new attack expert before the Rugby World Cup.

Zondagh was hired by Scottish Rugby at the end of August 2021, joining Gregor Townsend’s team as an assistant coach focusing on attack, filling the role previously occupied by Mike Blair who had left to become head coach of Edinburgh. He joined from Toulouse in the aftermath of the club’s European Champions Cup and French title double-winning season in 2020-21. It is understood his Scotland contract runs until after the World Cup which kicks off in France on September 8.

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Zondagh, 36, was part of the Scotland coaching team in the 2021 and 2022 Autumn Nations Series campaigns, last season’s Six Nations and the summer tour of Argentina.

The national side’s results have been a mixed bag during his time involved. There have been notable wins, against Australia and England last season, and Argentina in the autumn, but there is a sense that Scotland’s progress has stuttered in the last 18 months, most obviously in the Six Nations where Townsend’s side lost to Wales, Ireland and France after opening with the impressive victory over England.

Zondagh arrived in Edinburgh with an impressive CV and his departure from Toulouse was lamented by players from the French club. He had previously coached at the Sharks in South Africa in various skills and high performance roles, helping them win the Currie Cup in 2016 and 2018.

He seemed to be in for the long haul when he spoke to the Scottish media for the first time in November 2021, expressing confidence that Scotland had the ability to overcome Ireland and South Africa in the pool stage of the 2023 World Cup in France.

“I’m convinced we can beat one out of the two, in fact we can beat them both,” Zondagh said.

He also elaborated on what attracted him to the Scotland job. “For me, it was a very attractive opportunity to go from club to international, which is a different challenge,” he said.

“The DNA of the way Scotland have played over the years is something which is very attractive to me as a coach. It is a dangerous team who are not scared to play, and that speaks to my DNA as a coach.”



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