Gregor Townsend has hailed the experience of two new additions to his coaching setup ahead of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations with Scotland confirming the arrival of Steve Tandy and Pieter de Villiers.
Tandy – Ospreys head coach for six seasons (2012 to 2018) – joins from the NSW Waratahs, where he led the side’s defence as the main proponent of their ‘blue wall’ for the past two seasons.
Also joining the Scotland 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 Championship titles.
On the appointments, Townsend commented: “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.
“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.”
39-year-old former flanker Tandy 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.”
Meanwhile de Villiers 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 Guinness 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.”