With less than two weeks still to go until the Ospreys begin their defence of the RaboDirect PRO12 crown he says that along with his coaching team he is thriving on the challenge of finding and developing the next generation of talent while still trying to keep the region at the forefront of the game.
Having watched his team suffer pre-season defeat to Bath at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon Tandy, an Ospreys ‘original’ was questioned by the press about how the Ospreys will cope this season after a number of departures over the summer while inward traffic was low.
Tandy responded in his typically honest manner, insisting that with a significant amount of young talent coming through the ranks that the Ospreys are in a good place.
“We’ve lost players and that’s something we’ve got to deal with” he said.
“We know what it is, we’ve got a budget to work to. You can go on about this, go on about that, but you can’t do nothing about it. We’re talking about Tom Grabham today, we were talking about Hanno at the end of the season, and that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to go and find the next Shane, the next Tommy Bowe. We can’t dwell on it, we’ve just got to move on.
“Yes, in certain areas we are thin. But, it’s our job as coaches to go and find the next generation. We’ve got a couple coming through which is good for us. Will it take a bit of time? Will there be performances that we’re not happy with where we could do a lot better? That will happen.
“We see the squad we’re working with every day. Obviously you could have a couple of injuries in certain departments which may leave you looking a bit threadbare but a lot of squads out there are the same. You could be lucky or unlucky with injury. We were pretty fortunate last year towards the end but the reality is, we’ve got to find the next generation. There is no point us sitting in our office thinking we could have had this or we could have had that, we’ve ultimately got a squad that I’m really happy with and we’re positive about.”
The aforementioned Grabham caught the eye with a dynamic performance off the bench, the Wales Sevens cap showing an eye catching turn of pace to score the Ospreys only try, and when asked about him, Tandy said that the Bridgend youngster - more familiar with the scrum-half position - had enjoyed a good pre-season:
“I thought Tom Grabham did really well when he came on, if he didn’t fumble it he could possibly have had another try. He’s a nine, I coached him at Bridgend along with Tom Habberfield, he’s pretty quick, an intelligent kid who understands the game. His first game on the wing was against Sivivatu out in Clermont last week. We spoke to him in pre-season, told him we think he’ll have a lot of opportunity there and I think he put his hand up last week.
“He’s creating opportunities, he scored a try today, possibly if Biggs’ kick had stayed in he could have scored and he fumbled another one so he’s working hard and getting in the right places, getting on the end of things. He works hard, he listens and learns, he’s a fighter, so he’s got every chance.
“He hasn’t been in our environment long. He was in and out last year as he’s in university as well, so that’s something which is one of the real positives of our pre-season. Everyone goes on about the international boys going on tour but it gives us an opportunity to look at these young boys, spend time with them and actually find someone like Tom and maybe even move his position.
“I think Tom in fairness has put his hand up and it’s going to be a difficult selection going to Treviso.”
Tandy was quick to point out that there are a number of young Ospreys knocking on the door who are looking to make a real impact with the region, saying:
“We can talk about the likes of Lloyd Peers who did a lot of hard work, Sam Lewis who played well last week, Tom Grabham, James King, Hanno Dirksen, we’ve seen young Luke Morgan today as well. Tom Habberfield came on against Clermont last week and was outstanding yet can’t get a run today at nine because we’ve got Kahn and Rhys. Things are really positive.
“Matthew Morgan played 80 minutes in Clermont and he probably would have liked a bit more time today but we are trying to manage the whole group, trying to get them up to speed. We felt Daniel needed 70 minutes, then Matthew did look sharp when he came on. When the game does break up he’s dynamite in fairness to him, but as a group we need to be ready.
“James King is another young talent we are talking about within the Ospreys. He’s got all the athletic ability, he’s diligent and hard working and he has a bright future, we are really positive about him for this season.
“The likes of James, Tom Grabham, these are guys that will hopefully get a lot of rugby this season and it’s boys like them that are the future of the Ospreys.”