Zondagh: Bulls must build on what Mitchell started
Cape Town - Alan Zondagh, who has been appointed as the Bulls’ director of rugby, believes there are "exciting times" ahead for the franchise.
Zondagh was speaking at a press conference in Pretoria on Thursday where he confirmed he signed a three-year deal with the Bulls.
The Bulls also confirmed the appointment of Pote Human as head coach in place of John Mitchell, who has joined England as their defence coach.
Zondagh is a vastly experienced rugby coach. He served as director of coaching at Western Province between 1980 and 1988, before moving into a head coach and director of coaching role at Eastern Province between 1989 and 1991.
He was head coach at Western Province between 1994 and 1996, before moving to England where he coached London Scottish between 1998 and 1999. The following year, he moved over to Saracens serving as their director of rugby.
He later fulfilled the same role at Boland and in recent years has run the Rugby Performance Centre (RPC) in Riebeek West in the Western Cape.
"We’re heading into exciting times for Bulls rugby. I think what John Mitchell started last year was something special, especially on the playing side. And I hope that we can build on that," Zondagh said.
"We will make sure that we bring the public back to Loftus. It’s not an easy job, Super Rugby is a difficult competition. But I’m sure if you look at the way the Bulls played last year... games they lost that they shouldn’t have lost... it could have been a completely different outcome. So, we’re looking forward to it."
When asked to explain his role in more detail, Zondagh added:
"We’re busy looking at the structures. There’s no need for major adjustments but we’ll make a few changes here and there. I think we have good personnel within our structures.
"My biggest role over the next two to three years will be to make sure that our structures are strong. If something happens... like a John Mitchell departing prematurely... that our structures are strong enough to handle those setbacks. I’ll be there to assist Pote in what he’s doing. He’s the head coach and we’ll make sure that we play winning rugby.
"Rugby consists of a conservative style and a more creative style and your players should be able to play both styles... the whole spectrum... So it depends on who we will play, what we need to do... and if our players can adapt to it then we can do really well. I think we’ve got a good crop of players together."
Blue Bulls president Willem Strauss said Zondagh would be a vital asset for the union.
"Alan is a rugby visionary, and with his international experience he will add immensely to the future growth of this brand. He will also serve as a mentor to our coaches and management, and I believe that they will gain a lot from having a guy of his calibre around."