Cardiff appoint highly-rated South African coach in big announcement

Cardiff appoint highly-rated South African coach in big announcement

Cardiff have added highly-rated South African forwards coach Corniel van Zyl to Matt Sherratt's backroom team ahead of the 2024/25 season.

The 45-year-old is currently assisting Ealing Trailfinders following the collapse of London Irish where he had held a similar role since 2021. Prior to that the South African had spent more than five years with Free State Cheetahs, competing in Super Rugby and the then Guinness PRO14.

“It’s no secret that we need to bolster our backroom staff and Corniel is a top quality addition to our coaching group," said Sherratt. “He has an abundance of experience coaching in different hemispheres and competitions in terms of Super Rugby, PRO14 and the English Premiership.

“He has an excellent reputation for being a top quality, detail-focussed forwards coach and as well as this, he is good person, who will add to the environment at Cardiff. We look forward to welcoming Corniel and his young family to Cardiff in the summer.”

During his playing days, the second-row spent the majority of his career with Benetton Rugby, where he amassed more than 150 appearances. He qualified for Italy on residency and was named in the Azzurri’s 2011 Rugby World Cup squad before hanging up his boots in 2015.

“I’m really excited to link up with Cardiff next season and it’s something we as a family are really looking forward to," said van Zyl. “Cardiff has such a rich history in the rugby world, so it’s great to have the chance to make a difference to the club.

“It’s also a city I am pretty familiar with and have always enjoyed both during my playing days and as a coach. We would always stay in Cardiff regardless of where we were playing in Wales. It has a great vibe, which can be really busy but also very chilled out and relaxed.

“I’ve had some really good conversations with Matt, who was very open and honest about the current situation at the club and vision moving forward. That’s always a good start. We have a good connection and I feel like there is a lot of alignment in the way we both see the game.

“It really excites me to come to Cardiff after this journey in the Premiership and Championship, which is another different test of your coaching skills. The URC is always a brilliant challenge because you play in so many different countries and against so many different playing styles."

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