Scottish Rugby Blog

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scott Johnson Parts Ways With Ospreys

Goings on at the Ospreys may not concern the Scottish fans, but it perhaps should.

As of this moment Ospreys coaching duo Sean Holley and Scott Johnson have left their posts with immediate effect and a successor has been brought in to take over the day to day running of the side.

This is significant for us for two reasons. First, as is obvious, Scott Johnson was scheduled to take up a post with the Scotland set-up for the summer tour down Under. With nothing to do for the next few months is it possible that the former Wales’ skills coach and Wallabies assistant coach will travel north of the border to help out earlier than planned? He says he is off home for a stint, but perhaps Robinson should try and dissuade him.

If so it would be a move that could stave off criticism for Andy Robinson. As defence coach Steadman is confirmed as one who is leaving after the 6 Nations and Gregor Townsend negotiates a new deal –moves which have caused a certain amount of consternation amongst the fans, mainly because the defence has been good whilst the attack somewhat less so –it would be seen as another progressive step.

Perhaps he may follow through wih his plan and hold off until the summer, but at this stage, whilst players appear to be facing abuse from a minority of disheartened fans and Scotland slip down the World rankings table, it would go some way to showing that this management team are aware of the issues of scoring and are looking to address it. It could also show support of those young players like Hogg, Weir and Matt Scott who could get a lot more guidance and a little more attention with both Townsend and Johnson around.

The second point of interest could of course be that the Ospreys, a region known for extravagant playing budgets, flash kit and an approach that sometimes verges out of left field, have appointed an instant successor in Steve Tandy.

Who is he? The 32-year-old was manager of Principality Premiership club Bridgend, whom he guided to promotion last term, and was a back-rower for the Ospreys 102 times.

It is a bold call from the self-styled Ospreylian outfit. They have rewarded a local coach and given him an opportunity to show his ability at the top level. It is indeed rare to see such faith in a relatively unknown coach. However, would one of the pro sides in Scotland ever be so intrepid in their appointments?

With both clubs there is a suggestion that they would rather appoint head coaches from recognised fields and assistants tend to be those either fresh from the game or that have held similar positions within the organisation.

As we look to promote youthful players in this new age, should we be doing the same with our relatively unknown but still hard working coaches?

19 Responses

  1. he’s already stated he’s going back to Oz to recover from illness. We’ll see him as planned in the summer.

  2. He says he needs the months to recover. Will he be alright by the end of the season? Could sure use a bit of extra input for both individual and team attack, right now…

    Reckon Edinburgh or Glasgow would ever bring in a young coach or assistant out of the club game like the Ospreys have?

  3. ow long ago was that? Could it happen again? In fact, are their any candidates for this? Which club coaches DESERVE the step up to full-time, week in week out, coaching with one of the pro sides?

  4. I was fortunate to learn from the Great Man himself. John Anderson. A true club man. Taught me everything I know. All good hookers could learn from his grenade like technique for throwing at the lineout, I certainly did.

  5. to be fair, Lineen applied to Edinburgh, but didn’t get the job. Since Glasgow was seen by the SRU as the lower of the two he was given that instead. So, I don’t think that can even be used as an example!

  6. Ally Donaldson, Craig Chalmers and Kenny Murray have always looked to be the contenders for a step up if one was available.

  7. After spending a couple of days up in the Glenamman area of Wales last weekend, the general feeling is that the Welsh regions have lost the fanbase with Swansea City and Cardiff City drawing in the crowds now. Even the Premiership clubs who fed them are suffering. There is no affinity to the clubs, no fans and therefore no money to bring in coaches and players. Now this could work in their favour if they use “younger” coaches and local talent to replace the current crop but there was a general feeling that Scottish Pro-Clubs are on the up whilst the Welsh are on the wane

  8. Interesting Kev. I think with the Welsh problem they are faced with amalgamating multiple strong separate elements, where Edinburgh and Glasgow do have a geographical base and (semi) interested populations but have been essentially created from scratch. Long term the pro-teams will be a success in terms of support and it is finally starting to show this season.

  9. Chicken and the egg here

    Where do you get assistant coaches from if not ex internationals just finished their playing careers or good club coaches who have done an apprenticeship?

    To me those are the only options if you are to promote Scottish coaches and have some kind of career path

    The only other options are importing

    Let’s not forget coaches were getting paid long before players and continue to often be paid in clubs when players are not or at least more than the players

    Coaches are every bit in need of a career path as players

  10. Angus..should ex internationals who want to coach start in Premier Rugby to cut their teeth? No disrespect to Toonie’s ability to coach but his first job was at Test level.

  11. Also forgot to add that I went to Hendy RFC home of the Shingler brothers and they are very bitter towards the WRU for stopping Stevens career (so far). They’re ready to visit wherever he gets (if appeal successful)his 1st cap with Kilts and Welsh jerseys.

  12. Absolutely Kev. IMHO there is no player on this planet, alive or dead who should step straight into coaching their International side (referring to top ranked nations even though I know Scotland can not currently be considered one)

    There were some lively discussions in NZ a few years ago about the number of ABs who retired from playing and were parachuted into ITM Cup or Super rugby positions and that practice appears to have had the brakes put on it as a result

    Playing and coaching can be like oil and water and simply because one is good at playing doesn’t mean you are goign to be good at the other

    The only way to find out is to actually coach and for my money I would rather find out while they are coaching club rugby than a Pro or International side

    Do a year in club then see from there – if they are a natural at coaching then what have you lost? A season and that is nothing

    I would rather see 9 top players prove themselves as coaches at club level than 1 fail when stepping straight in at International

    I am coaching club rugby this year with an ex International who played his last season of Pro rugby in 2011 after playing professionally in 4 countries as well as for Australia and this is exactly as it should be where he brings his experience to bear alongside a proven head coach (not me) who can mentor and assist him

    As a final thought, take a look at pro sport in the US. In Baseball, NFL and Basketball how many head coaches ever played the game at a professional level?

    For them Coaching is a career path in itself

  13. Interesting points, Angus, and I tend to agree.
    I particularly agree on your point about NFL, MLB etc. In this country we put far too much emphasis on what level a coach played. If you are a student of the game and can articulate well then who cares? There are a few coaches in Scotland, ex-players, getting fast-tracked (like some referees) while other DOs and ‘normal’ coaches as good if not better than them have to work twice as hard for recognition in the SRUs eyes. Of course there are those that do fit well right away. We get lucky with those. On the other side, though, I have heard pros at a certain English side complain that their head coach clearly never played at the top level, to his detriment, because the coach flogs them without knowledge of how fresh players could or should be on game day.

    It is a similar situation with pundits. To say that someone will not understand because they never played at a high level is tripe. With pundits we value personality or presence over the quality of message. Sky Sports, in my opinion, consistantly fall down here in a lot of their coverage (for a number of different sports). In some papers, too, getting a name on a byline is more important than content in an age were copies must be sold for survival.

    The rise of guys like Neil Reynolds of the BBC and Sky who covers the NFL is something others should take notice of. Sits in a pundits chair having not played BUT talks sense and then writes it too. Obviously he has opinions but he’s not…of the mould.

  14. Is that not what we are doing? Or does that mean we may actually have to make a podcast or videos?
    As for coaching… no. I haven’t the patience or the people skills. The Womens team I coached through a scrummaging session in Canada can testify to that… *STOP swearing*

You might also like these:

Scotland’s training squad for the 2024 Women’s Six Nations is a mostly familiar core with a smattering of new names – including several who have really impressed in the recent Celtic Challenge matches, writes Eleanor.
Stuart got in touch to tell us about the alternative reality that Saturday's game forced him into. So here it is, the Six Nations Table where Scotland won. To be continued...
Give us your thoughts on the game as Scotland welcome England to Murrayfield.
Gregor Townsend has made three adjustments to the team for the upcoming Six Nations clash against England at Murrayfield.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion