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Former Ospreys boss Steve Tandy joins Scotland as defence coach

Tandy replaces Australia-bound Matt Taylor and former France prop Pieter De Villiers joins as scrum coach on a short-term contract.

Former Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy has replaced Matt Taylor as Scotland defence coach (Niall Carson/PA)
Former Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy has replaced Matt Taylor as Scotland defence coach (Niall Carson/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

Scotland have appointed former Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy as their new defence coach after announcing Gregor Townsend’s right-hand man Matt Taylor was allowed to join Australia with immediate effect.

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Murrayfield chiefs have also revealed they have hired former France prop Pieter De Villiers to work as a scrum coach on a “short-term capacity” through the Six Nations.

Tandy – who coached Ospreys for six seasons until 2018 – joins from Super Rugby side Waratahs, where he helped create their famed ‘blue wall’ backline over the past two seasons.

Brisbane-born Taylor – who played for Scotland A thanks to his Fife parents – joined the Scottish coaching system in 2012 from the Queensland Reds in a dual role covering Glasgow and Scotland’s defence.

He was part of Townsend’s backroom team when Warriors won the PRO12 title in 2015.

He said: “I would like to thank the players and the staff of both Scotland and Glasgow Warriors for the friendship they have shown to me and my family over the past eight years.

“The moments we’ve shared through this period will stay with us for many more to come. The Calcutta Cup win in 2018 with Scotland and winning the PRO12 title in 2015 with Glasgow are ones which will always remain vivid.”

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Matt Taylor was part of Scotland’s backroom staff for eight years (Danny Lawson/PA)

Scotland’s defence recorded back-to-back clean sheets against Samoa and Russia during this year’s World Cup but the Dark Blues still crashed out at the group stage after heavy defeats to Ireland and Japan.

But Tandy believes there is room for improvement. 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.

“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.”

On Taylor’s departure, 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.

“Matt is passionate about coaching – helping players and the team improve, and also continually striving to be a better coach. 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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Pieter De Villiers, right, joins as scrum coach on a short-term contract (David Davies/PA)

“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.

“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.”

PA

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