As one of a host of youngsters making a big impression in an Ospreys shirt this season, centre Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler is enjoying the experience of Guinness PRO14 rugby.
Thomas-Wheeler celebrates his 19th birthday today and, wherever his fledgling career takes him, there’s no doubt he’ll remember 2018, after making his Regional debut in the Anglo-Welsh Cup back in January before stepping up to the PRO14, most recently over the last two rounds where he has partnered Cory Allen in midfield.
“I’m really, really, enjoying it” said the teenager from Neath, a former pupil at Llangatwg who played for Trebanos RFC.
“It’s a higher standard and I’m learning every day in training, hopefully that’s transferring into how I perform in games. This is the level I want to be playing at.”
He featured off the bench three times last season, and was again among the replacements in Cork two months ago as the Ospreys lost to Munster, but it’s in the last three fixtures that he has really caught the eye, his first start coming away to Worcester in the Challenge Cup before back to back PRO14 starts. Modestly, he acknowledges that he is still very much finding his way, saying:
“It’s definitely been a step up from the Anglo-Welsh experience I had. There’s a few of us youngsters have been in and around the senior squad and playing games and it’s definitely a good thing.
“A lot of us have come through together as youngsters and played at age-grade and we are trying to step up and do the best we can. It helps to have people you know around you when you come in, it makes it a bit easier, but you can’t rely on anybody else, you have to put the hard work in yourself.
“It’s a good combination we’ve got here, young boys coming through and some experienced players to help show us the way. I’ve benefited from playing alongside Sam (Davies), James (Hook) and Cory (Allen), players who’ve been there and done it, it’s made the step up easier for me, definitely.”