Coaching changes

Tandy new Scots assistant as Taylor heads to Australia

Team: Townsend and Taylor (pic: SNS Group)

​Former Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy has been named as Gregor Townsend’s new assistant, replacing Australia-bound Matt Taylor.

Tandy joins from Super Rugby side Waratahs, where he was defence coach, with Taylor heading back to his homeland to join the national team.

“I see this as a massive opportunity and am very excited to fully immerse myself in Scottish rugby,” said Tandy.

“Being part of Super Rugby for the past two seasons has enabled me to gain invaluable experience in different styles of rugby.

“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.”

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’ in November 2018.

Also joining the Scotland national team coaching group in the 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 will work with Scotland throughout the up-coming Guinness Six Nations tournament on a short-term contract.

Taylor’s departure for the Wallabies ends a long association with Townsend with whom he had worked alongside since taking up a dual role as defence coach with Glasgow Warriors and Scotland in 2012.

The Warriors’ 2015 PRO12 triumph was a landmark moment for the former Border Reivers and Scotland A back-row, whose coaching tenure took in 147 matches with the Scotstoun side and 87 Test matches for the national team.

Townsend said: “It’s been a real pleasure working with Matt both at Glasgow and Scotland. As team-mates back at the Borders we talked a lot about the possibility of going into coaching, then we used to share notes and learnings as we began our coaching careers on opposite sides of the world.

“He can be really proud of a number of achievements he helped create over an eight-year period in Scottish rugby. We wish him all the best in his new challenge, working with the country he grew up in. I’m sure he’ll do a great job.”

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