Scotland coaching team takes shape
Scottish Rugby today announced two key appointments to the Scotland coaching team ahead of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations.
Steve Tandy – who was Ospreys Head Coach for six seasons (2012 to 2018) – joins from Super Rugby side Waratahs, where he led the side’s defence as the main proponent of the NSW Waratahs’ ‘blue wall’ for the past two seasons.
The 39-year-old former flanker played over 100 times for Ospreys, transitioning into coaching with Bridgend between 2010 and 2012, while continuing his playing career with the Swansea side.
He took up the region's Head Coach role in 2012 and led them to the PRO12 title at the end of that season. The club reached the PRO12 semi-finals on two further occasions before Tandy joined the ‘Tahs’ as Defence Coach in November 2018.
He said: “I see this as a massive opportunity and am very excited to fully immerse myself in Scottish rugby. Being part of Super Rugby for the past two seasons has enabled me to gain invaluable experience in different styles of rugby.
“Playing against teams from South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina and Australia has been an amazing learning opportunity for me and will aide my transition into the international game.
“Defence is a huge part of the game which I am extremely passionate about. With my experiences from both the northern and southern hemispheres, I feel I can add to the Scotland set up, moving forward. I cannot wait to start working with Gregor, his coaching team and the players.”
Also joining the Scotland national team coaching group in the New Year is former France prop Pieter de Villiers, in the role of Scrum Coach.
South Africa-born de Villiers played in two Rugby World Cups for France (1999 and 2007) earning 69 caps in an eight-year Test career, which also brought four Six Nations titles.
He moved into coaching after his retirement through injury in 2008 and joined South Africa as Scrum Coach in 2012, before switching to Stade Francais in 2018.
De Villiers played for the Top 14 side 150 times in a 14-year spell and won the French title on five occasions with the club between 1998 and 2007.
He will work with Scotland throughout the up-coming Six Nations tournament on a short-term contract capacity.
De Villiers said: "I’m very excited to join Gregor Townsend and his management team for the 2020 Six Nations tournament as a scrum consultant.
"It is an honour and a privilege to be coaching at international level again having relocated the family back to Europe over the past year. I have fond memories of the passion and competitiveness of the Six Nations matches I experienced in my playing years and the thought of being back in the midst of it all is highly motivating.
"I am looking forward to being involved with the Scotland player group and the goal would be to build strong personal relationships to enable the collective construction of our scrummaging principles and our scrummaging system.
"I would also like to thank Scottish Rugby for the opportunity and I am looking forward to our collaboration."
Scotland Head Coach, Gregor Townsend, welcomed the new additions.
He said: “It’s great to bring someone of Steve Tandy's experience on board. He was a successful Head Coach in the PRO14 and added another impressive dimension to his coaching as an Assistant Coach in Super Rugby, which is a rare move for a northern hemisphere coach.
“He’s passionate about learning and passionate about improving players. We’re looking forward to welcoming him into the wider coaching group. I know he’s keen to get started with this opportunity."
He added: "We're also pleased to welcome Pieter into the group. He's passionate about the scrum and has top level Test experience, having played for many years at Stade Francais and the French national team.
"He'll be focused on improving our scrum collectively and working closely on improving the individuals in our team."