Dalziel: We’re building something special
John Dalziel replaced Danny Wilson as Scotland Forwards Coach in August of this year and three months later he says he's really enjoying his new role as part of Gregor Townsend's backroom team.
Dalziel departed Scotstoun after a season with Glasgow Warriors, having previously enjoyed two years as Head Coach of the Scotland 7s national team.
As a player, Dalziel represented Gala, London Scottish, Border Reivers and Melrose, before moving into coaching, enjoyinggreat success with the latter.
He then took up the reins as Head Coach of Scotland U20, leading them to a best-ever finish of fifth at the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia, with a squad containing current full internationals Darcy Graham, Blair Kinghorn and Matt Fagerson.
Speaking to scottishrugby.org, Dalziel said: "I've really loved it. I know the majority of the players and I've come into what is already a really strong and exciting coaching group.
"With Gregor there and Steve Tandy, Pieter de Villiers and Mike [Blair], there is a real energy within the coaching team as well. David Edge [Scotland Team Manager] was my team manager for Scotland U20s, Ally Little, who was the physio for Scotland 7s, so there are a lot of familiar faces and there are a lot of good people. I think the energy around, not just the playing side, but the management and that interaction is great.
"I feel there is something special building within the group, so to have the opportunity to come in and add to that has been a real honour."
Dalziel started coaching when he went to Melrose to try and get some game-time in 2005 and ended up helping out with coaching too. Since then the former Gala man has never looked back and now find himself working with the Scotland national team.
He said: "I stumbled across coaching. I always enjoyed the leadership part and I was lucky enough to captain most of the teams - age-grade and senior teams I played for. It's something I found myself doing quite a lot and I felt I had the leadership qualities.
"Around 2005 I'd had a few niggling injuries and just as the Six Nations started there was a break in the Celtic League and I asked if I could go to Melrose to get a few games. I went along to training and then played two games and I just found myself helping out, certainly around the line-out and in some of the forward plays they were struggling in a couple of areas. I though [I would help] based on training professionally and being able to pass on a couple of things and that's how it started.
"Craig Chalmers, the head coach of Melrose at the time, said he really enjoyed having me and asked if I could help out a bit, even one night a week. I was only 27 and still had loads of playing years ahead of me, but I had this opportunity and I was really thankful to Craig for the opportunity. I really enjoyed it and like everything I've done, if I'm going to do something I like to go for it fully and I had a great few years coaching alongside Craig."
Dalziel knows a lot of the players who are in the Scotland squad, having coached some of them and in some cases, playing with or against them
He believes his relationship with the Scotland players is key as they continue to build on the success they've had on the pitch to date, with France up next at BT Murrayfield this weekend.
Dalziel added: "I'd say 90% of coaching is having relationships. You can be the most technical coach in the world, but if you're not able to build relationships and understand your players, then you're going to struggle at some point.
"I was involved with Scotland U20s for six-and-a-half years and the majority of the lads you now see playing with Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Scotland national team.
"I think we've got some fantastic kids and some fantastic young men in Scottish rugby now, that have been developing over a long period of time."