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Scotland’s Steve Tandy set to join Gatland’s Lions coaching staff


Scotland’s defensive mastermind Steve Tandy has emerged as a leading candidate to join the British & Irish Lions coaching staff with Warren Gatland forced into a late rethink for the tour to South Africa.

Tandy would be charged with overseeing the Lions defence on the tour of South Africa with the Ireland head coach, Andy Farrell, now believed to be unavailable. Gregor Townsend is still expected to be named as attack coach when Gatland confirms his assistants on Tuesday, however, and after multiple tours with no Scotland representatives on the staff Tandy would mean another for the South Africa trip.

The 41-year-old Welshman, who spent six years in charge of the Ospreys while Gatland was coaching Wales, was appointed by Scotland in December 2019. He is, therefore, a relative newcomer at international level but Scotland had the meanest defence in the 2020 Six Nations and the second best during this year’s competition.

In a further blow to Gatland, Graham Rowntree and Steve Borthwick – both of whom served as coaches on the 2017 tour of New Zealand – are also thought to have had second thoughts at the 11th hour. As revealed by the Guardian, Gatland was set to snub candidates from Eddie Jones’s staff, meaning a Lions tour without any England coaches for the first time since 1997 despite the credentials of John Mitchell and the former Springboks assistant Matt Proudfoot. It is understood that is still likely to be the case while sources have also suggested Gatland may go with just four assistants, rather than five as initially planned.

Neil Jenkins is also expected to reprise his role as the kicking coach while Robin McBryde, who joined the Leinster coaching staff in 2019 after 13 years working with Wales, would appear to fit the bill as another potential replacement.

South Africa’s preparations also appear to have been disrupted amid reports the Rainbow Cup is likely to be cancelled. 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.”



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