By David Williams
Former Ospreys coach Steve Tandy has emerged as a strong candidate for a coaching role with the British and Irish Lions this summer.
Tandy – who has bolstered Scotland’s resurgence as their defence coach – is reportedly being lined up for the same role assisting Lions head coach Warren Gatland in South Africa.
Gatland is due to confirm his coaching team on Tuesday, but having suffered a series of setbacks through candidates making themselves unavailable, it appears that 41-year-old Tandy, who spent six years in charge of the Ospreys, is in prime position for a role.
The success of Tandy’s impact with Scotland can be measured by the fact that Scotland had the best defensive record in the 2020 Six Nations and the second tightest this season after Ireland.
The Lions coaching team is to be named on Tuesday morning, with Wales kicking coach Neil Jenkins, strength and conditioning coach Paul Stridgeon and several other members of Gatland’s old back-up and medical team set to tour again.
That could include former Wales forwards coach Robin MyBryde, who is now coaching at Leinster.
Tandy’s current boss, Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend is expected to be confirmed as Gatland’s attack coach.
However, Steve Borthwick, Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree have all declared themselves unavailable for different reasons.
Townsend led Scotland to fourth in the recent Six Nations championship, beating England, France and Italy.
The Lions’ tour of South Africa is scheduled for July and August, ending with three Tests against the world champion Springboks.
The team’s first match is a warm-up encounter against Japan at Murrayfield on June 26 with the first Test taking place on July 24 in Johannesburg.
It was confirmed in March that the tour would go ahead as planned but no decision has yet been made over whether or not fans will be allowed into stadiums for the matches.
South Africa’s preparations also appear to have been disrupted amid reports the Rainbow Cup is likely to be cancelled.
Don’t really want Tandy giving away all his defensive secrets to the Welsh players on Lions tour. Not too fussed about English players, there won’t be too many in the squad…
— Scottish Rugby Blog 🏴 (@ScotRugbyBlog) April 11, 2021
Four South African provinces were due to take part in a competition with the Pro14 teams, scheduled to begin this month, in what would have been critical preparation for their Springbok players.
However, it appears their participation in the tournament has not been sanctioned by the UK government.
The chief executive of the Sharks, Eduard Coetzee, told the South African newspaper Rapport: “We have little information at this stage, but it seems to be the case that the Rainbow Cup will be cancelled.”