Andrew Bishop has been described as a “true Ospreys legend” after he announced his retirement earlier today.
The 30-year old from Treorchy called time on his career after undergoing surgery on his back for a third time, having served the Ospreys for his entire 11 year career as a pro, making his debut as a teenager in February 2005.
His total of 209 Ospreys appearances is the second highest in the region’s history. He was part of four league winning squads, as well as scoring one of two Ospreys tries in the 2008 EDF Energy Cup Final victory over Leicester Tigers at Twickenham.
Ospreys Head Coach, Steve Tandy, was among those playing alongside Bishop when he made his regional debut against Connacht and he led the tributes to the hard working centre today, saying:
“If there is ever a player who illustrates everything that an Osprey should be, it’s Andrew. It’s been a privilege to work with him, both as a coach and playing alongside him from when he first came into the squad as a youngster.
“Bish is a tough cookie who always put in 100 per cent and never expected anything less from those around him. His consistency was his trademark, which is why he made such an impact and managed so many appearances, year in, year out, despite having to compete with some great players in his position.
“It’s a sign of his quality that despite that competition for places, he was such an influential member of the squad over 11 years, playing a big part in our various successes on and off the field.”
Andrew Millward, now Rugby General Manager at the Ospreys, was another who played in Bishop’s debut and shared the field with the centre on many occasions. He said:
“Bish was very much an unsung hero outside of our environment but there can be no doubting what a great player and great Osprey he has been over the years. He’s a very humble man, very quietly spoken, but has always been a leader by way of his actions. When the going gets tough, he is definitely someone you would want alongside you.
“His consistency was down to the fact that he always did the basics, kept a cool head, knew his role and was always pursuing excellence, characteristics that we want from all our players. Youngsters looking to make their way with the Ospreys should look to him as a role model, as many have done during his career.
“He is a true Osprey who will be sadly missed but we hope to see him and his family regularly at the Liberty Stadium, supporting his region.”
Ospreys Chairman, Roger Blyth, also paid tribute, saying:
“Andrew is a fantastic clubman, the kind of player that every team needs, a rock that they can rely on in good times and bad. His record speaks for itself. 209 appearances, one of only two to pass the 200 barrier, four league titles, the EDF win, but the stats only tells half the story.
“A great character, honest and hardworking, he had real pride in representing the Ospreys. He is one of those individuals who have helped shaped our organisation through his efforts on and off the field and it is only right that his contribution is duly recognised. It’s a word that is used too lightly these days, but undoubtedly, Bish is a true Ospreys legend, and we wish him and his family all the best for the future.”