Steve Tandy will be supported by a new-look coaching team during the forthcoming LV= Cup games against Gloucester and Bath, with Dan Griffiths and Tom Smith stepping up over the two week period.
The pair will follow in the footsteps of Tandy himself who, along with current Backs Coach Gruff Rees, previously benefited from experiencing life working with the senior team during an LV= Cup campaign as part of their professional development.
Smith, who was appointed to head up the region’s elite youth development pathway in November, will take responsibility for the forwards during this period, while Dan Griffiths will be in charge of the backs – the third time that he has been handed the opportunity.
The move is part of the Ospreys’ long established and successful coach development pathway, the aim of which is to help to create a sustainable region on and off the pitch, by affording coaches on the pathway the opportunity to expand their knowledge through ‘on the job’ training alongside their more experienced counterparts.
Andrew Millward, Rugby General Manager at the Ospreys, emphasised the region’s commitment to coach development is one that will reap long-term benefits.
“Developing home grown talent on and off the field is at the heart of everything we do, and is crucial to the long-term, sustainable success of Ospreys Rugby” Millward said.
“Our ethos is quite simple; better coaches equals better players. It’s important that we use opportunities like this to provide those coaches on the pathway with experiences that will assist their long-term development, working in the senior environment with senior coaches.
“This scenario is then replicated right the way down the pathway, with age-grade and district coaches all handed opportunities to gain invaluable experience that help them understand what is needed at the highest level.
“Dan and Tom are two familiar faces within the environment, with differing experiences and areas of expertise, but working alongside Steve and the rest of the senior coaching and management team for the next two weeks will be testing and will offer them new challenges that they should be very excited about.”
For Griffiths, it’s an opportunity to put in practice the things he has learned in his previous LV= Cup stints as well as his day to day experiences as a skills coach within the regional environment:
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced two previous LV= Cup periods, working with Gruff, so I’m really looking forward to taking responsibility for the backs in these games against Gloucester and Bath” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity. I’m involved with skills work on a day-to-day basis, but this goes to another level, and it’s a challenge I’m really looking forward to.
“This environment is a challenging one but its one that offers people the chance to learn and to develop every day and I really do appreciate this fantastic opportunity.”
Smith, who has played 94 times for the Ospreys, has been involved within the development pathway for a number of seasons already, coaching at regional age-grade level and at his community club, Neath Athletic, and he holds a UKCC Level 3 coaching badge. Having settled into his post over the last few months, the LV= Cup period will see him step out onto the paddock once more and he says he is looking forward to it:
“I’ve been coaching for a few years now and have been fortunate enough to shadow the senior coaches at various times while I’ve been out injured, but this is something else again.
“My new role is a challenging one which offers me something different every day, it’s been a real learning curve for me since I started in November. I’m looking forward to spending time out on the training pitch again over the next few weeks, helping to prepare the side for these two games, getting some real hands on experience and learning from Steve about what it takes to coach at senior regional level.”
The Ospreys face Gloucester at Kingsholm on Saturday 31st January, and Bath at the Recreation Ground on Saturday 7th February, with both games kicking off at 3pm.