Ospreys Rugby have confirmed details of key appointments to the support staff that will strengthen the development programme at the region ahead of the new season.
As part of the changes, three former players who boast more than 500 Ospreys appearances between them join the coaching team.
Dan Griffiths, already an influential figure on the pathway, will now assume full day-to-day responsibility for the department as Development Manager, while Tom Smith will focus on coaching as Skills Coach, working with the forwards in ‘B’ group at Llandarcy while providing support to the senior coaches.
Three new appointments see Andrew Bishop, Richard Fussell and Duncan Jones returning to the region they served with distinction as players following their retirements over the last year or so.
Fussell, who scored 18 tries in 113 games while recording the fastest ever century of appearances in Ospreys history, will work alongside Smith as Skills Coach, looking after the backs.
Meanwhile, the only two players to have represented the region more than 200 times, Duncan Jones (223 appearances/4 tries) and Andrew Bishop (209/10), take up similar skills roles working with the age-grade squads and, on a daily basis, with the ‘C’ group.
The “C’ group is a selection of carefully selected young players aged 16 to 18 who attend the Ospreys Llandarcy Academy of Sport HQ between 7 and 9am daily for specific rugby and fitness work ahead of their normal school/college day, with extended with extended hours during holiday periods. Duncan will combine his duties with his existing role of WRU Hub Officer for Neath Port Talbot College.
“These are four key appointments that will allow us to take delivery of our development programme onto another level entirely” said Andrew Millward, Managing Director of Ospreys Rugby.
“In addition, we identified some time ago that the senior coaching team were under resourced, something we began to address with the appointment of Brad Davis, a renowned defence specialist who will join us this summer. With two further quality young coaches now operating below them we are starting to get the depth we need off the field to go with the depth we are developing on it.
“For a young player coming through the ranks at the region, to be able to learn from the likes of Andrew, Duncan, Tom and Richard can only help you become a better player. Not only are they are people who know what being an
Osprey is about, understanding our values having represented the region with distinction, they are fine young coaches in their own right.
“For his part, Dan is an astute thinker who has opted to follow the administration route as we have jointly identified that is where is skillset is best suited in terms of his potential long-term influence on the environment.”