Steve Tandy, Damian Karauna and Mefin Davies will all take up new roles within the Ospreys coaching set-up as part of changes announced today that are aimed at creating a stronger development pathway.
Tandy and Karauna will take up new roles as B Group coaches, working with the next tier of players below the match day squad in any given week that consists of a mix of senior and up and coming players. Tandy will combine the role with his ongoing commitment to Bridgend RFC, where he is Head Coach and currently preparing for the Ravens return to the Welsh Premiership, while Karauna will step up to the role of Assistant Coach at Swansea RFC, working alongside the newly appointed Head Coach, Jason Hyatt.
In addition Davies, who is the senior professional at the region, will take his first steps on the coaching pathway by joining Karauna and Dan Griffiths as C group coaches, looking after a selection of carefully selected young players aged 16 to 18 who during term time train at Llandarcy between 7 and 9am ahead of their normal college day.
The A, B and C group structure has been successfully introduced to provide a clearer, more robust development pathway for young players, and has been credited for allowing the players coming through the system to perform so effectively when they stepped into the first team during international periods last season, losing just one in four games during November before notching up a record equaling seven consecutive wins during the Six Nations period.
The new appointments will allow for even greater continuity between the different development arms, with stronger links between the region and the Premiership clubs while Karauna and Davies, in their C group capacity, will work hard to foster strong links with the three colleges in the region, managing the ongoing partnership to create a stronger player pathway. The input of all three will allow for greater continuity and understanding of the style of game employed by the Ospreys, helping to create young players fully understanding of the Ospreys way.
It follows on from Head Coach, Sean Holley, and Forwards Coach, Jonathan Humphreys, committing their futures to the region by signing new contracts.
Chief Operations Officer, Andrew Hore, explained:
One thing that we have spoken about relentlessly since Ive been here is development from within, and I think that last season we started to see the results of the work carried out so far with some exciting performances from the next generation of Ospreys, players who it is hoped will go on to serve the region well in the coming seasons.
Its important that we dont stand still, we have to keep working hard to ensure as seamless a progression for our young players as possible, and this is where the structure we have in place here, with A, B and C groups, and coaches who overlap in terms of responsibility, will help us to achieve that.
Whereas previously there was a system where young players moving up from the old academy to the senior squad had no defined role and were effectively just tackle bag holders for long periods of time, the B and the C groups allows these players to grow and develop daily, allowing them to become better rugby players and better people.
We need players to be moving into the senior squad who are fully rounded and prepared for the challenges. The B squad will allow us over time to change the shape of the A group. We will be producing local players, who have the Ospreys way ingrained in them.
The appointments confirmed today are key to the ongoing success of this programme. Steve, Damian and Mefin are quality young coaches who have a bright future ahead of them. They are passionate about both player development and the Ospreys, and they have the characteristics and values that we want from our coaches.
We will give them all the support and assistance they need to make them better coaches, which in turn will lead to us creating better players. For us to deliver long term sustainable success, it is vital that we remain committed to developing young coaches and players."