John Dalziel is the new Scotland’s forwards coach, former national captain Kelly Brown is to return to Glasgow to be the new forwards coach there with immediate effect and scrum guru Pieter De Villiers has been secured full time as Scottish Rugby confirmed their backroom staff for rugby’s restart yesterday.
Dalziel, the former Gala and Melrose forward and Border Reiver, continues his journey along the coaching pathway through club, age-group, sevens and pro rugby by joining Gregor Townsend’s national set-up.
He was a successful head coach of Melrose before taking on Scotland’s Under-20s from 2015 to 2017, piloting them to a best ever finish in the World Under-20 championship and working closely with key members of the current national squad, including Jamie Ritchie, Zander and Matt Fagerson, Darcy Graham, Adam Hastings, Scott Cummings and Blair Kinghorn. He has been forwards coach at Glasgow for the past year.
“It’s an honour to be asked to join the Scotland coaching team under Gregor,” he said.
“I hope to add value to what is already an experienced coaching group and I am looking forward to working with such an exciting and talented squad of players, many of whom I have worked with during my time with the U20, 7s and Glasgow Warriors set-ups.”
Head Coach Gregor Townsend added: “I’m delighted to welcome John into the national team coaching group. He has been impressive in every coaching challenge he’s had since retiring from playing, most recently with Glasgow Warriors.
“He already understands the nature of international rugby through his head coach roles with Scotland 7s and U20s and has worked closely with a number of our current Scotland players, which will be an important factor in preparing the forwards for Test match rugby within a short timeframe.
“We have an intense block of international rugby coming up later this year, which will enable John and the rest of our coaching group to connect with our players as we continue to work hard and develop.”
Townsend had also confirmed that Pieter de Villiers, the Frenchman credited with Scotland’s hugely improved scrummage performance during this year’s Six Nations, has joined Townsend’s backroom staff on a full-time basis.
De Villiers worked with the Scots on a consultancy basis in the spring but such was his impact that Townsend wanted him to join up full time.
“Pieter made a real impact when he joined our coaching group for the 2020 Guinness Six Nations and so it’s great news that he is now joining us on a full-time basis. He quickly built a rapport with our staff and players, immersing himself in our environment.
“Pieter is passionate about the scrum and developing players to succeed in this important sector of the game, and his valuable contributions were evident in the matches we played,” said Townsend.
“There is much more to come from our forward pack, so we look forward to working with Pieter in his drive make further progress.”
Dalziel’s departure means that fan favourite Kelly Brown will return to the Warriors after a decade in England to be the new forwards coach under head coach Danny Wilson.
The 38-year-old played for the Warriors from 2007 to 2010, making 61 appearances, before leaving to spend the remainder of his career at Saracens, retiring in 2017. He has since been an academy coach with the London club, but has twice been involved in a consultancy basis with Scotland.
He was capped 64 times for Scotland and skippered the national side 14 times.
“When Danny [Wilson] called, the role ticked so many boxes,” Brown said. “It’s a club I’ve got a lot of love for, so I was delighted to accept the offer.
“I’ve had a fantastic 10 years at Saracens, and I’ve learnt so much on and off the pitch, and the chance to take up a senior role like this with Glasgow was too good to turn down.
“There’s a good mix of senior players and younger guys, which is really exciting for me. Seeing where we can take those younger players and take the club to in future is something I’m really looking forward to.
“I’ve coached a number of the boys with Scotland over the last few years, so I know there are some really talented players in the mix. I also know what makes a really successful environment from my time at Saracens, and I’m excited to see where we can go as a club.”
Danny Wilson said they were delighted Brown had accepted the post.
“Kelly’s packed a lot into the three years since he hung up his boots, which shows just how highly regarded he is as a coach,” said Wilson. “He was excellent when I had the chance to work with him as part of the Scotland setup, and I know he’ll bring a lot to the table.”