Top 14: Pierre Mignoni confirmed as Toulon coach
Former France international Pierre Mignoni was formally revealed as Toulon’s new coach for next season on Wednesday.
Mignoni will thus return to his hometown club for a fifth stint as either player or coach, after having done some impressive work with Lyon over the past six seasons.
At the announcement, it was also notable that Franck Azema has had his contract at Toulon extended, meaning Mignoni is likely to be working only as an assistant rather than a head coach.
Either way, it is a fairytale story for the former international scrum-half, who picked up his first ball and made his first passes in a Toulon shirt, and who left Clermont to rejoin the club as soon as it had come back up to the Top 14 in 2009.
Mignoni operated briefly as a player-coach there too before coaching the club’s backs for four seasons from 2011 to 2015, when he took the Lyon head coaching role.
Lyon’s search for a replacement for Mignoni for next season has not lasted long; former France international Xavier Garbajosa had already been revealed as the new Lyon coach for next season last week.
But what Mignoni will inherit is as yet unclear. Toulon are in a relegation fight, currently in the relegation places, albeit with a couple of games still to catch up from the Covid disruption.
A cluster of big name players have already announced they will be leaving next season; Mignoni’s first task might be to help facilitate a major rebuild.