Handre Pollard has not yet signed a contract with Montpellier. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

MONTPELLIER – New Zealander Vern Cotter will become Montpellier director of rugby as former France international Xavier Garbajosa takes his over as head coach, the club’s owner Mohed Altrad told AFP on Monday.

“Vern Cotter will be the director of rugby, like there are at Anglo-Saxon clubs,” Altrad said.

“He’s coming to us as head coach. He will be in charge just for the sporting side of things,” the Syrian billionaire said.

Cotter, 55, who has been at Montpellier since taking over from South Africa’s World Cup winning coach Jake White in 2017, has led the club to seventh spot in the table this season after a disappointing start to the campaign, which included a run of four straight defeats.

Garbajosa, 42, who won 32 caps for Les Bleus, will be released from his contract as La Rochelle backs coach and has signed a three-year deal with last year’s Top 14 runners-up. 

Altrad also said Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard had agreed in principle to join the side, but is yet to sign a contract.

Pollard would join a host of fellow countrymen, including Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis and Johan Goosen, on the French south coast.