The Ospreys are set for a taste of military life this weekend when they spend 48 hours participating in a special training camp at Lucknow Barracks in Tidworth, Wiltshire, home of the Royal Welsh.
The squad and management team will head off to the barracks as part of their preparations for next month's Magners League game against Edinburgh, and in addition to regular rugby training, will take part in a series of special team-building games and activities under the watchful eye of officers from the regiment, which is known as the 'Welsh Warriors'. There is also a controlled conditioning match pencilled in for Friday afternoon against the regiment's own rugby team.
Speaking about the trip, Ospreys Head Coach, Sean Holley, said:
"Clearly, during the Six Nations we don't have regular games, so with us facing a weekend without any games, we wanted to do something that would allow us to keep the momentum going and keep the boys focused firmly on the forthcoming Edinburgh game which is an extremely important fixture.
"One of the ways that we thought we could do that was to take the boys away to a camp where we could get everyone together in a controlled environment to do some team-building stuff. Visiting the army camp in Tidworth is the perfect solution, allowing us to get in some rugby work on top of the team building, as well as allowing us to enjoy each others company. We are taking along some of the younger, less experienced boys as well, to allow them to gel with the rest of the squad, and we're looking forward to getting some productive work done, in terms of conditioning and rugby.
"We're looking forward to spending a few days down there, and to getting to know some of the soldiers from the Royal Welsh, particularly watching the Wales V France game with them on Friday night, and getting to know more about them as people, and the things they've been through in the line of duty. We've already got a relationship with the regiment, this will help to cement that further. It's going to be a great experience for everyone involved."
The visit follows on from activities at the Ospreys recent game against Connacht, where soldiers from A Company, Second Battalion, The Royal Welsh, were guests of honour following their return from active duty in Afghanistan and took part in a lap of honour around the Liberty Stadium pitch ahead of the game. Prior to this, Ospreys players had recorded a DVD of messages of support from the players which was sent to Afghanistan while the Battalion was on duty there.