Filo Tiatia will take his next step up the coaching ladder when he takes control of the Ospreys for the two forthcoming LV= Cup games against Wasps and Cardiff Blues.
The former All Black will be in the hot seat for the fixtures, taking the role of Head Coach for the period, following in the footsteps of Forwards Coach, Jonathan Humphreys, who stepped up to the role for the first two games in the competition back in November.
Tiatia has been handed the opportunity as part of the Ospreys coach development programme, which aims to produce the next generation of coaches from within the regional set-up. He will be joined in the new-look set-up by Ospreys stalwart Steve Tandy, currently Head Coach at Bridgend RFC, and Skills Coach, Gruff Rees, both of whom will act as Assistant Coaches.
Having made 99 appearances in an Ospreys shirt prior to hanging his boots following the Magners League Grand Final win over Leinster in Dublin back in May, Tiatia has concentrated on his new role as Technical Coach specialising in the tackle/contact area, as well as working closely with the B group of players - a large number of whom will feature in the LV= Cup. Now, he can’t wait to experience life as Head Coach:
“I am looking forward to it” he said. “It’s something I’ve never done before so straight away it’s a challenge. Lucky for me I’ve got good coaches to learn from in Johnno, Sean and Jon, and also, there are two young coaches in Steve Tandy who is Head Coach of Bridgend and Gruff Rees who is our Skills Coach and will head up Wales U18 this season, who will be working with me over this period.
“It’s an exciting time for me, it’s a good next step. In terms of what I want to achieve as a coach I guess I’ve got to step away from things that I’m used to. What I coach here normally is the tackle contest and the contact area but I’ve got to look at the bigger picture during this period.
“I’m looking forward to managing the group with my fellow coaches and taking responsibility for the wider picture. It’s good experience. “
Although there have been important Magners League and Heineken Cup games to focus on over the last few weeks before attention turns fully to the LV= Cup, preparations for this period are already well underway with Filo and his assistants planning for their challenge:
“The plans are in place and things are already in motion” added Tiatia. “We are already working closely with the group of players likely to be involved. I’m meeting with Gruff and Tandy, we’re clarifying roles and responsibilities as a coaching team, what we are looking after and what we want to achieve in the two weeks of the LV= Cup.
“We are all really looking forward to it. It’s definitely a challenge. I don’t mind challenges. I may make mistakes along the way, but I think you’ve got to make mistakes if you want to learn anything and develop your skills. What I do know, is that I’m working with great coaches and the review process will allow me to get feedback and a complete analysis of how things go, what was good and what wasn’t, so I should be a better coach for the experience.”
According to Elite Performance Director, Andrew Hore
“With the LV= Cup’s status as a development competition, we have been able to use it effectively as a means to not blood not only new players over the last two seasons, but also, to give invaluable experience to some of the younger coaches within the region.
“Our commitment to development from within is well documented, be that players, coaches or administrators, and this initiative is just one of the many we currently have in place as part of the coach development pathway, that will allow those involved to really develop their skills and abilities in the role.
“When people talk about coach development, it’s very easy to forget about those inside the professional environment. In order to create long term, sustainable success for the region, we need to ensure that the development needs of all our coaches are met.”