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Ex Italy lock lands Cardiff coaching job

By Josh Raisey
(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Cardiff have announced that former Italy lock Corniel van Zyl will join Matt Sherratt’s coaching team ahead of next season.

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The South African-born lock will make the move to the Welsh capital at the end of the season after his spell with Championship leaders Ealing Trailfinders comes to an end.

The eight-cap Italy international was previously forwards coach at London Irish before they went into administration at the back end of last season. He will team up with former Exiles forward Ben Donnell, who last week signed for Cardiff from Gloucester ahead of next season. 

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Van Zyl’s arrival is part of a strong recruitment drive by Cardiff ahead of next campaign, with Bristol Bears and Wales fly-half Callum Sheedy also set to move to Cardiff Arms Park. According to RugbyPass’ Neil Fissler, this recruitment drive is set to continue. 

“I’m really excited to link up with Cardiff next season and it’s something we as a family are really looking forward to,” van Zyl said.

“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.

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“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.

“I’ve seen a fair bit of Cardiff this season and while results haven’t gone their way you can see they always fight right until the very end and that is a sign of a very good group.

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“It’s also really exciting to have such a talented pool of young players coming through and the opportunity to help mould them into world class players.

“I’m also very grateful to Ealing Trailfinders and if it wasn’t for them I probably wouldn’t have this opportunity. What happened at London Irish was really tough but after a short break, I had the chance to go to Ealing to continue coaching and work with a group of players, who you naturally become fond of.

“I’m hoping we can finish the season on a high before moving onto this next challenge with Cardiff.”

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