Steve Tandy will take up the post of Player Development Officer for the Bridgend District next month, replacing Gary Clement who is leaving the Ospreys to pursue a teaching opportunity in Essex.
Since joining the Ospreys in 2007, Clement has proven an influential figure in terms of player development in the region, combining the community role with the post of U16 backs coach. He will be moving on at the end of the month, with Tandy picking up the reins from September 1st.
Clement said that although he is sad to be leaving, he will be continuing to keep a close eye on the youngsters coming through in the District from afar:
“I’ll miss working day-to-day with the next generation of rugby players from Bridgend. I’m passionate about giving kids their chance and the development of young talent, and although I’ll be some way away in Essex, I will continue to monitor the progress of rugby development in Bridgend, from the District scene through to Bridgend RFC and the young talent coming through into the Ospreys.
“I am leaving to take up a teacher training post in my wife’s home town of Southend, where I can continue my work with children and while I’m looking forward to this opportunity, I’m obviously sad to be leaving the Ospreys. The Development arm of the region has made huge strides forward in my three and a half years here and I’m proud to have been able to play a part in that.
“The development of young, local talent is at the heart of what the Ospreys are about. Without that focus, the structures that have been put in place, and the support from the very top, the success we’ve had wouldn’t have been possible so I’d like to thank everybody involved, especially the many volunteers who have provided me with invaluable assistance.
“The Bridgend District is in safe hands with Steve. He is a real Ospreylian, and with him combining two roles he can take a wider view about player development, while providing a real pathway through for youngsters that culminates with the Bridgend senior team, and for the lucky few, the Ospreys.”
Elite Performance Director, Andrew Hore said that the appointment is evidence that the Ospreys are delivering on their promise to develop local talent, both playing and coaching wise, while warning Tandy that he had a tough act to follow in the post:
“Gary Clement is an individual who has done some outstanding work for the Ospreys over the last few years. He took on a real challenge, working in a District that was feeling pretty disenfranchised from regional rugby, and through his endeavours he has certainly helped to turn things around, putting Bridgend firmly at the heart of the region.
“He has a fantastic knowledge of the up and coming talent in Bridgend and his commitment and effort have been immense. We are very sad to see him leave, but unfortunately his personal circumstances are such that he has decided to relocate over the bridge. He has spent some time working with Steve over the summer to enable a smooth transition, and we wish him and his family the very best for the future.
“Steve has shown a real desire to make a difference in the local community game, he has a passionate interest in rugby development and wants to make the game in the region stronger. He is an Ospreylian through and through, with more than 100 games for the region under his belt, and he has already shown his commitment and willingness to put the hard work in to develop his own coaching ability by working with the Eyasses, and following his appointment earlier this year, as Head Coach of Bridgend.
“We are firmly committed to developing local talent, playing, coaching and administrative, and Steve’s progression is a clear example of how this works in practice. He is now in a position to really influence the development of the game in Bridgend, and we all share his excitement at the possibilities in store for him now. The two roles are a perfect fit, allowing him to take a real control of the pathway for young players in Bridgend, and we believe that while Gary’s are big shoes to fill, Steve is ideally placed to continue his excellent work.”
30-year old Tandy has been with the region since its inception and last season he became an Ospreys centurion, making his 100th appearance against Newport Gwent Dragons at the end of January. Having been appointed Head Coach at Bridgend RFC for the coming season, his two roles will dovetail perfectly, allowing him to have a big influence on rugby development in the Bridgend District.
Speaking today, Tandy said:
“I’m really excited about the new role and the challenges ahead of me. It’s the next step for me as a young coach, taking me in a different direction, and I’m looking forward to it.
“The two jobs are a perfect fit really. Hopefully I can help to give young players in Bridgend a good start as well as working to encourage more school children to take up the game, with the aim of making the game in Bridgend stronger generally. The goal for them should be to aspire to play for Bridgend, as a stepping-stone towards the Ospreys, and if I can achieve that I’ll be very happy. I’ve always had a keen interest in coaching, working previously with the U16’s, so this is a natural progression for me.
“Bridgend is such a crucial place for the Ospreys, the history that the District has for player development is self-explanatory and we want to keep that production line of young talent going. We have to, if we are going to ensure long-term success for the region.
“I will still be available for selection for the Ospreys as needed, and will fit training in around my workload. It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s an exciting one.”