URC latest: Scarlets pounce on departing Lions coach

Albert van den Berg, a former Springboks lock and Lions coach, has been appointed as Scarlets’ new forwards coach for the 2023–24 season.

Van Den Berg departed the Lions before the end of their United Rugby Championship amid accusations that the working environment at the organisation is toxic.

Albert van Den Berg heads to Scarlets

ALSO READ: Mike Makaab’s Prosport offloads rugby division to Octagon

Springbok Albert van den Berg with friend Colin Wolvaardt during the 2019 Currie Cup Rugby match between Sharks XV and The Blue Bulls at Newlands Stadium, Cape Town on 20 July 2019 Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Ben Franks, who left the Scarlets to return to New Zealand, is the man replaced by Van den Berg in the Scarlets reshuffled coaching team.

Van den Berg joined the Lions in 2021 and is regarded as one of the top forwards and line-out instructors in South African rugby at the present moment. The former Sharks second row, who was capped 51 times by the Springboks, began his coaching career with the Sharks Academy as a forwards coach and lineout expert.

Former Ireland star Jared Payne has been named the backs and attack coach, and Ulster’s Shane Carney has been added to the backroom team as the Scarlets’ new Head of Athletic Performance.

ALSO READ: Don’t forget, Currie Cup heading to its business end!

Head coach happy with appointments

Scarlets Head Coach Dwayne Peel said: “Albert, Jared and Shane are exciting additions to our coaching team and we look forward to welcoming them to Parc y Scarlets this summer.

ALSO READ: Nkosi picks a fight with Jake White but who will win?

“I know Jared and Shane well from my time with Ulster. I worked with Jared for three and a half years and he is a quality coach who will be great for our talented crop of young players, in particular. Similarly, Shane, who is a highly-rated performance coach with a real focus on detail.

“Albert brings with him a wealth of experience from his time coaching in Japan and South Africa. He has the experience of playing more than 50 Tests for the Springboks and comes here with a real pedigree as one of the most highly regarded forwards and lineout coaches in South Africa.

“I’d also like to thank Ben Franks for everything he has done for the Scarlets. Franksy has been influential in developing a pack culture here and also bringing through an exciting pool of young front five forwards that we have at the club. We wish him well with the next chapter of his career back in New Zealand.”