As he looks to put a series of injury problems, Ian Evans believes that a run of games will allow him to get his game back to top form.
The big second row has endured a torrid time over the last few years with knee, shoulder and pectoral injuries preventing him from building on the enormous impact he made in both the black of the Ospreys and the red of Wales at the start of his career.
Now, with seven games under his belt to date this campaign either side of a fresh foot injury picked up in the early season loss in Munster, he is beginning to put his problems behind him and is hoping that an extended run of games will see him back to his best.
“I had a bit of a niggle earlier this season, either side of with an injury to my ankles and now I’m starting to get back, I’m trying to get a run of games”
“I’m probably the type of player that needs a couple of games under my belt just to get me going really. If you don’t play games then you really aren’t going to feature in anyone’s plans.
“I’m starting to get back on my feet as they say. I just need time to play games. It’s the only way to get fit and to get progression, playing games. It’s a slow process, but one where the Ospreys are trying to look after me, manage my knee in certain circumstances. It’s not as straightforward as people think.
“It can be really frustrating. I’m starting to find my feet now and the confidence will come with game time I suppose.”
Having signed a new three-year contract earlier this year, Evans is putting in extra curricular work with the conditioning team at the region as he looks to repay the region for the faith shown in him through the difficult periods. He added:
“I do see myself getting my best form back but it does take time. Everyone expects miracles. I was out previously for 18 months and people expect you to come back flying but it does take time to get used to the pace of the game, and used to getting the knocks and the bumps again.
“I’m doing some personal training with the conditioning staff, just to help get me back to where I was. Extra weight and conditioning sessions early in the week, tailing off towards game day, just trying to give myself a bit of my engine back I suppose.
“I’ve had a shoulder reconstruction, a knee reconstruction, I’ve had two testing things, but getting knocks and bumps is part and parcel of rugby. It does take a time to get the confidence back but I’m on my way there. The Ospreys have been really supportive of me, they know the extent of the injuries and how to manage it.”
With Leinster the visitors to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, Evans is anticipating a high tempo game that will really test a young Ospreys side.
“Leinster are a good team wherever you play them, and it doesn’t matter what time of year it is” stressed Evans.
“You can expect a fast, flowing game, it’ll probably be like a Heineken Cup game with the pace.
“With our Welsh internationals away the youngsters here have stood up and week by week there’s been massive improvements. I think we’ve probably seen a couple of players put their hands up for regular spots.
“I wasn’t involved in the Leicester game but I watched it and it was fantastic to see a young team running in so many tries. That just shows that confidence is building, then we went to Connacht and to get the win out there shows how we are building week on week.
“The aim here is to create competition. If you haven’t got that players go stale.”