It remains uncertain as to whether Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend will seek to replace AB Zondagh, whose departure from the role as attack coach of the national team was announced yesterday, or whether he will seek to fill the void himself.

It seems most likely that he will go for the second of those options given that attack is Townsend’s own specialist area and quickly recruiting an individual of the requisite calibre will be tricky and expensive at this stage in the season/World Cup cycle.

Another option is bringing Mike Blair, who previously worked under Townsend in the international set-up before taking over from Richard Cockerill as head coach of Edinburgh in late summer 2021, back into the Scotland fold. But the former scrum-half, who had a promising first season in charge of the capital club and is in the middle of a challenging second campaign, needs to be given an opportunity to fully develop in his current role.

There is no doubt that the departure of Zondagh – who has been in the post less than 18 months – is a troubling turn of events for Scotland given that we are now less than a year out from the 2023 World Cup.

The South African, who was added to Gregor Townsend’s backroom staff ahead of the 2021 Autumn Nations Series, has been strongly linked with a move to French Top 14 side Lyon, as a replacement to their attack coach, Kenny Lynn, who is moving on at the end of the season.

He previously coached at the Sharks in his native South Africa, earning several promotions in skills and high-performance roles between 2013 to 2019, winning the Currie Cup on two occasions in 2016 and 2018.

“AB Zondagh has left his position as Scotland assistant coach for family reasons and to pursue opportunities,” said a short statement issued by Scottish Rugby. “We wish him all the best and thank him for his contribution since joining in 2021.”