Ospreys Coach Hails Welsh Team Selection ...

By - | 29/01/2008

Ospreys head coach Lyn Jones has hailed this afternoon's announcement that a record breaking 13 Ospreys players will start for Wales against England at the weekend as "€˜a pat on the back for everybody at the region'.

Ospreys head coach Lyn Jones has hailed this afternoon's announcement that a record breaking 13 Ospreys players will start for Wales against England at the weekend as 'a pat on the back for everybody at the region', saying that he is both 'delighted' and 'humbled' by the news.

Warren Gatland named his first ever Wales squad at a lunchtime press conference in Cardiff today, with an unprecedented number of players from the region getting the nod. The selection is the largest ever representation from a single team in a Welsh starting line-up, trouncing the 10 Cardiff players selected way back in 1948, and the nine from Llanelli and Newport in the 1990's and 1950's respectively.

The Ospreys contingent in the starting line-up consists of forwards Huw Bennett, Ian Gough Alun Wyn Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Duncan Jones, Adam Jones and captain Ryan Jones, whilst in the backs, Mike Phillips, James Hook, Gavin Henson, Sonny Parker, Shane Williams and Lee Byrne get the nod. There is a further Ospreys presence on the bench in Ian Evans, as only Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues) and Mark Jones (Llanelli Scarlets) get a look in from outside of Ospreylia.

Lyn Jones said today:

"Today's announcement is a tremendous pat-on-the-back for everybody at the region. It's an unprecedented achievement in Welsh rugby, possibly in the world game and I am both delighted and humbled to be head coach of a team that has received such recognition. Congratulation to each and every one of the players are in order and I'm sure that I won't be alone in wishing them the best of luck on Saturday.

"Everyone at the Ospreys can take enormous pride from this selection; the players themselves who work incredibly hard day-to-day to better themselves, to improve both as players and as a team, the coaches who put in the hours working with the squad, the Academy and development staff who have worked with some of these players since when they were just young hopefuls dreaming of a possible career in professional rugby and have helped to develop them into international players, and also, all the behind the scenes staff, management and of course, the supporters, who can see tangible evidence that what we are attempting to do at the Ospreys is working and is benefiting both the regional and national teams.

"Warren Gatland and his new coaching set-up have only had a short time to prepare the squad to play they way they want to. No doubt, with Shaun Edwards on board as defence coach, the fact that at the Ospreys we use a similar defensive system to the one they have traditionally favoured has had a big influence on selection, as has the excellent results that we have enjoyed in recent big matches.

"Make no mistake about it, this is excellent news for Ospreys rugby, and is a clear vindication of our player development policy. With an incredible 13 players named in the starting line-up for Twickenham plus one more on the bench, five Ospreys in the starting line-up for the Under-20's the night before and 13 names in the U-18's squad ahead of their own fixtures in the spring, our continued commitment to finding and developing the next generation of Welsh internationals is clear for all to see."