After Bridgend secured a return to the Premiership following a two-year absence with a play-off victory over Glamorgan Wanderers on Saturday, Player Coach Steve Tandy said he was "proud to have been able to play a part" in the club's success.
Ospreys centurion Tandy, who took up the post ahead of the 10/11 season, was part of the starting XV at Cardiff Arms Park, where the Ravens secured a 38-19 win that condemned the Warriors to relegation, with Ross Jones and Luke Morgan scoring two tries each and Dan Griffiths adding the extras with his boot.
Reflecting on a memorable day for the large contingent of travelling Bridgend fans, Tandy said that the promotion was a well deserved reward for everyone involved at the Riverside Hardware Brewery Field.
“It’s been a really good season for us” he said.
“Everyone has really worked their socks off right from the start in August, on and off the pitch, and last Saturday against the Wanderers the lads got their reward. They really showed what Bridgend have been all about this season, particularly in the second half.
“We’ve got a lot of young boys there, local kids, mixed with experience, and they have bought into what we’ve tried to do as a group. That last 40 minutes really saw everything come together and it was a brilliant way to end the season.
“To be back in the Premiership is a fantastic achievement, and it’s great news for Bridgend RFC, for the town, and for the Ospreys as well. Bridgend is important to the region, the record of quality players produced in Bridgend is a long one, and it was really important that we got the club back up. I’m just really proud to have been able to play a part in doing that during my first season.”
Tandy led by example in Cardiff, picking up the man-of-the-match award from S4C’s Dot Davies at the final whistle, but in his typically modest way he was quick to divert the praise on to his team-mates, saying:
“It’s not about me, it’s the rest of the boys who deserve the plaudits, they got us there. They’ve worked tirelessly, bought into our plans and to be honest it was nice to see promising youngsters like Ross Jones and Luke Morgan finishing off some really good tries.”
After bringing down the curtain on his top level playing career to concentrate on coaching, Tandy has made a real impact in his new role, gaining further experience as Forwards Coach for the Ospreys during the LV= Cup campaign earlier this year. Twelve months into his new career, he says that the work is already underway for his first season as a Premiership coach:
“I’ve absolutely loved it. The transition to coaching has gone pretty well, it’s been a balancing act with different things but I’ve really enjoyed it. We’ll start thinking and planning about next season and the Premiership now, it’s got to be about keeping on working with the youngsters, getting the right mix with experienced players, and improving the whole organisation from top to bottom.
“It’s going to be a lot tougher in the Premiership but at the end of the day we set the highest standards here already, and we’ll prepare for next season as best we can.”