The Ospreys Under-18's will face a stiff challenge from the 'Best of the Rest' in a specially arranged fixture at Seven Sisters RFC this week.
The one-off game will see a squad selected from players in the District set-up who have not featured in the regional age-grade sides to show that they have the ability to compete at that level.
The Best of the Rest team is made up of players from Afan Nedd, Bridgend and Swansea Districts, and the match will provide them with a real opportunity to impress the region’s age-grade coaches as Development Coach Ioan Cunningham explained:
“We organised some Best of the Rest matches last season which were a huge success, so we want to continue with the process as these games can provide an invaluable opportunity for late developing players to show us what they are capable of. It is also a good chance for the coaches involved to take a second look at the District players and if anyone catches the eye then there is a possibility that they can be brought into our squad.
“We’ve gone to great lengths to really build the District/Region relationship over the last year as we recognise the value of the District set-up and realise the important role that they play in player development. The only route into the Ospreys age-grade system is via the Districts, so players are well aware that they must play District rugby to be considered for regional rugby. It works both ways though, in that players can move either way between the Ospreys and the Districts, keeping pressure on players to reach the right standards.
“We have put a great deal of emphasis on the fact that we realise that players develop at different times, and just because a player hasn’t been selected at a certain age-grade, it doesn’t mean that the pathway is blocked for him, This is why, with the help of the Districts, we have reintroduced U19 and U20 sides, to ensure that these players have every opportunity to make the grade, and games like the Best of the Rest are an important part of this policy.”
The Best of the Rest face the Ospreys U18’s at Seven Sisters RFC on Tuesday 31st August, kick-off 6.30pm.
Meanwhile, the U16's are in WRU Regional Age Grade Championship action the following night, entertaining Blues South at Llandarcy (KO 7.15pm).