Fit again after a season to forget, hampered by a persistent knee problem, Tyler Ardron is keen to put what he calls a “difficult” year behind him.
The Canadian national team captain carried the injury through last summer’s Rugby World cup preparations and found himself limited to just two appearances at the tournament.
On his return to the Ospreys in October it continued to niggle, restricting him to just a couple of PRO12 outings three months apart before the medics called time on his season after the defeat to Leinster at the start of March.
Now, just three games short of his half-century, after sitting out his country’s summer fixtures, he says he’s raring to go.
“I’m feeling a lot better than last season, for sure, so I’m definitely ready to go” said Ardron.
“The body’s right and I’m looking forward to hopefully getting the year off to a good start.
“It was difficult for me last season, I had knee problems after the World Cup. It has been a long season and not getting much time off with summer rugby and World Cup prep, and I just couldn’t get it right. It was pretty minor in the grand scheme of things but twice, just as we thought we’d sorted it, I’d have a run-out and it was clear I needed time out.
“I’m 100 per cent now, the knee is feeling good and my body is right. A bit of extra conditioning and time in the gym always helps and I’m good to go with the rest of the squad, which is a huge boost.
“It’s going really well. We are putting in a lot of work but there’s huge energy in the squad. Things are starting to click and you can see it coming together collectively.”
This week has seen pre-season work move on from just the physical challenges, with more of a focus on rugby skills, and newly appointed Defence Coach, Brad Davis, has been making an impression on the field in his first week with the Ospreys. Ardron said:
“It’s refreshing to have that new voice, that different outlook, and Brad’s been awesome out there. There’s a lot of hard work to be done with him, new systems, new ideas, but it’s always to good to challenge the boys. Having something new to learn keeps you on your toes, but it’s going to be good to see how we implement the changes this year and bring his work into our game plan.”
After the disappointment last season of missing out on the play-offs and the top six, Ardron insisted that the outlook for the coming season is a positive one:
“When you look at the players we have here you have to be optimistic about this season. Whether it’s senior international players or 18 year olds coming through, we have quality and we are creating depth, and you do that by demanding the highest standards off everybody.
“We know what we want to achieve this year, across all the competitions, and are looking forward to the challenge. There’s five weeks until the first pre-season game, when things will really kick-on, so we have to use that time well to make sure we are ready.”
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