Former All Blacks assistant to work with Scotland at Rugby World Cup as backroom team sign new deals
Assistant coaches Steve Tandy, John Dalziel and Pieter de Villiers have extended their deals “until at least April 2026”, as Townsend did earlier this month. It means Scotland will go into the Rugby World Cup with a settled coaching set-up as it was also confirmed that Brad Mooar and Pete Horne will remain with the group in the build-up to and for the duration of the tournament. Mooar, the former All Black assistant coach, and Horne, the Glasgow Warriors assistant coach, worked with the national side during this year’s Six Nations, focusing chiefly on attack. Aaron Walsh, the mental skills coach, will continue working with the team during the World Cup period, it has been confirmed. Tandy has been Scotland defence coach since 2020 and was part of the British and Irish Lions coaching team in 2021. Dalziel has served Scotland as forwards coach for the last three years, while scrum coach de Villiers initially joined on a short-term contract at the same time as Tandy before extending his stay.
Scotland open their World Cup campaign against South Africa in Marseille on September 10. Before that they will play four warm-up matches, against Italy, France (twice) and Georgia. The announcement gives Scotland continuity in the lead-up to the campaign and was welcomed by Townsend. “The news that Steve, John and Pieter have extended their contracts is a real boost,” said the head coach. “They are all key members of the coaching group and provide invaluable support to our players and myself. Since coming on board all three have made a hugely positive impact to not only their individual areas but also to our all-round game and the environment. I’d like to thank Scottish Rugby for their support in keeping this coaching group together for the next few years.
“We enjoy working with each other and are determined to do all we can to bring out the best in this special squad of players. It’s great news that we’ve been able to secure the services of Pete and Brad for the Rugby World Cup too. They both contributed to our group hugely during the Guinness Six Nations period. I’m looking forward to working with them again on the attack side of our game and helping improve the skills and decision making of our players.”
Scotland won three of their five games in the Six Nations to finish third, equalling their highest ever placing in the championship since it was expanded. They now face a tough World Cup campaign where they have been drawn in Pool B alongside the Springboks, who lifted the trophy four years ago in Japan, Ireland, the top-ranked side in the world, Tonga and Romania. Only the two top teams from each of the four pools will qualify for the quarter-finals. Scotland failed to make it out of the group stage at the 2019 World Cup following defeats by Ireland and Japan. Townsend refreshed his coaching team in the aftermath of the tournament.
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