Whole community can share in Lions achievements say Ospreys
The Ospreys have hailed the achievements of their five British and Irish Lions after they returned home from their victorious trip to Australia, calling them role models for the entire Ospreylian community.
Richard Hibbard Adam Jones and Alun Wyn Jones featured in all three test matches, with Alun Wyn chosen as captain for the third and deciding game, and Justin Tipuric was involved off the bench in the third test, while Ian Evans also impressed with his performances on tour.
Now, Andrew Hore, Chief Operations Officer at the region, said that everyone involved with the Ospreys should take enormous pride in what they’ve done over the last two months.
“When you look back at what was an historic series for the Lions, it’s incredible to think what an impact this region had on the tour” he said.
“To have had five boys who have come through the system here, five players who are proud to represent their region with honour, involved on the tour is a fantastic achievement that reflects positively on the individuals themselves, on the set-up we have here at the Ospreys, and just as importantly, on the role that the community clubs and coaches have played to help get these players to this level.
“Then you can consider that we had the highest representation in the final test match 23, including the captain, that really does take some beating. The captain of the Lions, chosen from every British and Irish rugby player, was a proud Ospreylian, born and bred in Swansea.
“Everyone here is enormously proud of what they have achieved this summer and can’t wait to welcome them back here to Llandarcy for pre-season training next month. There’s no doubt they’ll come back into our environment with a spring in their step that will rub off on the rest of the group. With our U20s coming back before them having reached a first ever Junior World Championship final I should imagine there’ll be a real positive buzz around Llandarcy for some time.”
With the pride of Lions set to wear the famous black Ospreys shirt once again next season, Hore is hoping to see the region benefit from their presence with an increased interest from the local community.
“Crowds were up last season by more than 20 per cent, and I’d hope that we will get another bounce this season from the feel good factor associated with the wonderful achievement by the Lions” said Hore.
“There is a chance for young rugby fans to come to the Liberty next season and watch the likes of Adam, Alun Wyn, Richard, Justin and Ian week in, week out, representing their region.
“These boys care as passionately about the Ospreys as they have done about the Lions while they’ve been away. We are blessed to have such internationally recognised talent here, and I’ve no doubt that the local rugby community, young and old, appreciate and recognise that. With everyone talking about the Lions, you’d expect that plenty of people will want to come and see them in action in the flesh this season.
“We are putting together a squad with depth which showed last season that it is prepared to fight for each other and for the cause. Our Lions boys are at the heart of that. Supporters really identified with them last season and the feedback we get at the Ospreys is that although we didn’t win anything fans really enjoyed backing their team as they felt that the cause really meant something.
“We need to grow that feeling this season. We believe that we have a positive future but it’s important that we keep working hard to grow the organisation. We want to encourage those fans who have enjoyed watching the Lions on TV over the summer but aren’t regulars at the Liberty to come along, support their region and get into the habit of watching live rugby. The more people we have doing that, the more Lions and Welsh internationals we can produce for the future.”
Hore re-emphasised the point that the whole community can take pride in the achievements of the quintet, describing them as role models:
“They are players who began their careers at a local community club and have progressed along the development pathway to represent their region, then Wales, and finally the Lions. Every young boy starting off playing rugby at school or their local club can identify with them and hope to follow in their footsteps. They are role models, definitely.
“We have a highly acclaimed development pathway in place at the region which we invest heavily in. The purpose of the pathway is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the region by developing the best local talent to reach the same level as these boys, and they are the best advert for our investment possible. You could be a child at Taibach, Bonymaen or Trebanos, and not only can you watch these Lions at the Liberty, but you too could progress along the development pathway.
“It’s an exciting thought, just as these are exciting times for the Ospreys.”