Steve Tandy and Pieter de Villiers join Scotland coaching team ahead of Six Nations

Gregor Townsend will be assisted by Steve Tandy and Pieter de Villiers during the Six Nations. Picture: SNS
Gregor Townsend will be assisted by Steve Tandy and Pieter de Villiers during the Six Nations. Picture: SNS
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Scotland have reshaped their coaching team ahead of the Six Nations by making two new appointments.

An hour after announcing the departure of assistant coach Matt Taylor to Australia, Scottish Rugby confirmed the appointment of Steve Tandy who will take charge of defence.

Pieter de Villiers has experience of working as a scrum coach for South Africa. Picture: Getty Images

Pieter de Villiers has experience of working as a scrum coach for South Africa. Picture: Getty Images

Also joining the coaching set-up is former France prop Pieter de Villiers who has joined on a short-term contract as scrum coach for the duration of the Six Nations which kicks off for Scotland with a tough match against Ireland in Dublin on 1 February.

The pair will assist head coach Gregor Townsend who was expected to freshen up his backroom team after a disappointing Rugby World Cup in which Scotland failed to qualify from the group stage for only the second time.

The experienced Tandy joins from Australian Super Rugby side Waratahs where he was defence coach. Prior to that he spent six seasons as head coach of Ospreys.

The 39-year-old former flanker played over 100 times for the Welsh pro side. After cutting his teeth in coaching with Bridgend he took over at Ospreys in 2012 and led them to the Pro12 title at the end of that season.

Tandy said in a statement issued by the SRU: “I see this as a massive opportunity and am very excited to fully immerse myself in Scottish rugby. Being part of Super Rugby for the past two seasons has enabled me to gain invaluable experience in different styles of rugby.

“Playing against teams from South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina and Australia has been an amazing learning opportunity for me and will aide my transition into the international game.

“Defence is a huge part of the game which I am extremely passionate about. With my experiences from both the northern and southern hemispheres, I feel I can add to the Scotland set up, moving forward. I cannot wait to start working with Gregor, his coaching team and the players.”

South Africa-born de Villiers played in two Rugby World Cups for France, in 1999 and 2007, earning 69 caps in an eight-year Test career, which also brought four Six Nations titles.

He moved into coaching after his retirement through injury in 2008 and joined South Africa as scrum coach in 2012, before switching to Stade Francais in 2018.

He said: "I’m very excited to join Gregor Townsend and his management team for the 2020 Six Nations tournament as a scrum consultant.

"It is an honour and a privilege to be coaching at international level again having relocated the family back to Europe over the past year. I have fond memories of the passion and competitiveness of the Six Nations matches I experienced in my playing years and the thought of being back in the midst of it all is highly motivating.

"I am looking forward to being involved with the Scotland player group and the goal would be to build strong personal relationships to enable the collective construction of our scrummaging principles and our scrummaging system."

Townsend said: “It’s great to bring someone of Steve Tandy's experience on board. He was a successful head coach in the Pra14 and added another impressive dimension to his coaching as an assistant coach in Super Rugby, which is a rare move for a northern hemisphere coach.

“He’s passionate about learning and passionate about improving players. We’re looking forward to welcoming him into the wider coaching group. I know he’s keen to get started with this opportunity.

"We're also pleased to welcome Pieter into the group. He's passionate about the scrum and has top level Test experience, having played for many years at Stade Francais and the French national team.

"He'll be focused on improving our scrum collectively and working closely on improving the individuals in our team."