Ospreys Elite Performance Director Andrew Hore is warning not to expect any rush decisions as details of his far-reaching review surface for the first time.
Speaking today he said: "We need to do our homework, based on the criteria that we set. As with anything, the sooner the better, but the world is an interesting place and it's not necessarily going to be straightforward. The coach who meets our criteria is out there, ultimately this may mean an individual who is not widely known by the average supporter. Politics can mean that someone may be sitting in place where they are below their station in life and we might well be able to identify them. There are numerous examples around the world of quality coaches operating away from the limelight, there's the Curry Cup, Welsh Premiership, Air NZ Cup, Mazda Trophy, there's a very good second division in England. The individual may even already be within the organisation as part of our existing coaching team, we can't rule anything out.
"Some of these people are just waiting for their opportunity and they could be great coaches, you've just got to find them. The person that we're looking for has got to be someone who can grow others, that's a key component we are looking for. He's got to have strong values and attitudes and they really have to buy into the whole culture we're trying to establish. Good coaches around the world are not easy to find, it's really difficult. But, the thing that I think will be attractive to people is the base that exists here, that has been created over the last five years.
"In a lot of ways we've actually got a bit of time, we've got two extremely competent young coaches here in Sean Holley and Jonathan Humphreys so we don't feel that immediate pressure."Since arriving at the Ospreys a little over two months ago, Hore has immersed himself in the regional environment as he carried out his much talked about review of the set-up. Now that his initial review is complete he says that the real hard work starts now as he looks to implement the recommendations.
He said: "On the outside you'll see very little difference. There'll be some minor changes here and there but the key to this will be the way we conduct ourselves as a group of individuals, and also, the way we treat the individuals within the organisation. The one thing that did come out of the review is that everyone has a vision of where they want the Ospreys to get to, it's just not crystallized so we're going to sit down and look at it, we're going to define who we are and what we are. That needs to be done in conjunction with the directors, team management, players, office staff and external people who have an input, and we have to agree between us who we are and where we want to get to.
"Good sports teams are the ones who make hard decisions and develop from within. But you have to prepare people before you tell them what they maybe don't want to hear, and you have to help them to get where they want to go to. There's a whole process to doing that, you have to change your whole culture. When you look at my experience with Wales and how we got from where we were in 2002 to where we were in 2005, it wasn't the people we changed as much as how they acted and behaved. We looked at changing their training habits, they way they treated themselves, the way they treated others, all these kind of things, and it's very much what Warren Gatland is effectively advocating now.
"That's where we need to get to, it takes special people to help them get there, you have to have people with an understanding of what it is to change a culture. It's not easy, because people don't like change so it's got to be a collective effort. The difference between wining a title and losing it is a hair's breadth and all these kind of things are affected by the way you behave off the field. Your attention to detail in training, your work ethic, your 'family feeling' amongst the squad, all of these things make a distinct difference. If you've got all this, it gives you a lot more self-belief in who you are and what you are about. The ugly wins when you are few points behind with 10 to go don't come about through luck, often the only difference between the two sides is the self belief that you grow through the way you behave."As a consequence of his review, there will be a restructuring of the rugby department and there will be some additional changes in personnel. As a direct result of the review findings, the post of Director of Rugby is being made redundant and Kevin Hopkins is currently considering an alternative role that has been offered to him within the organisation.
In addition, Huw Bevan is departing the Ospreys after a five year spell as Fitness Coach. One thing Hore is clear about is that the success of the first five years of Ospreys rugby has given the region, and the new head coach, a strong foundation to work from. He continued: "I think the directors of the company, and everybody who has been involved over the first five years have done an outstanding job. At the moment we're having some success, but everything is in place here for the organisation to take another step, we can take it a level where we can create a legacy of sustained success. The Ospreys have been around five years and are the leading region on and off the field so we have to celebrate all the people who have been part of these achievements, while using what they have done as a basis to go forward.
"Looking back, everyone expected the Ospreys to fail, Swansea and Neath was never meant to work. When I was at the WRU everyone said that the Ospreys would be the first to fold so you have to say that the relationship that Mike Cuddy and Roger Blyth, with the other directors, have forged is pretty special! They have done amazingly well in trying circumstances and they've had to overcome some obstacles but it's been a really solid start to life. It's the next five years that I think is the exciting period. If we can grow a culture here where we realise that we're only here for a short period of time so we have to grow others who can continue the work, then I think we can have a truly successful time."