A round-up of the headlines from Thursday’s press conference at Llandarcy Academy of Sport as Duncan Jones looked ahead to the weekend’s action.
Scrum Coach, Jones, spoke to the press ahead of round two of the European Challenge Cup against Worcester, at Sixways Stadium, K.O. 3pm on Saturday afternoon.
Here’s what he had to say about:
- A lot of hard work was done last season by Clarkie in and around the scrum and that’s what the boys built their reputation on. It was always about building on the foundation that had been put in place really. Its been good to see some of the younger boys a year further down the line really taking some ownership.
- For me it was in a pretty good position when I came across, but the challenge for us is to get better every time we get together as a group. We’re pretty pleased the way its gone so far and how all the boys have stepped up.
- Last year was a really big year for Nicky. The potential and raw strength has always been there with him and with the front row, it’s probably a bit different to most positions, it’s important to get the game time where you learn a lot of lessons in play.
- As coaches we can sit down and go through footage, but scrummaging is a lot about feel and I think he learnt some good lessons last year and kicked on from where he was. He’s in a comfortable position of where he is as a player, but also has that good mindset of wanting to get better.
- Rhodri’s a good prop and has the ability to play on both sides well. We needed cover at loose head at the moment and he’s performing well in that position. It’s not for me to say you’ll never see him play at tight-head again.
- Versatility is key in a lot of positions, but I don’t think it would be fair for me to pinpoint his strongest position. I’m happy with the way he’s performing at loosehead and the diligence he’s put into it is coming across in the scrum.
Ospreys during the International period
- It’s an important period for us, it’s where you cement your place in the league, cup, or whatever competition you’re in. I think any squad would hope to have more depth, more players, but when players pick up bumps, its just the way it is.
- Certainly, the boys underneath have been working hard, and are really excited about the chance and opportunity they’re going to get. It’ll be a tough test, but that’s just a testament to the boys who’ve had the call up. They’ve been great working with the boys who are left behind and the youngsters.
- In an ideal world you’ll have an international replacement for an international replacement but that’s not the reality. What it does provide is an opportunity for those boys to step up. All the younger players have been in that position where there’s question marks over whether they are they ready or not and that’s when they really get to put their best foot forward and put all that hard training into place.
- They’re going to be full of confidence off after coming off the back of a good European away win. They’ve got a very good squad. They’re settled and comfortable in the way they play, and they’ll know that another win this week will put them in control of the group early on.
- We’re going to have to take care of the ball and gain our fair share of possession. We’ll try and play in the right areas and impose our game on them. It’ll be a case of staying in the fight for as long as possible and take those opportunities as they come.
- I get to work with a lot of the younger boys outside of that senior group which is where the majority of my work is done. I enjoy that part in getting them ready for that senior step.
- It has been really pleasing being around the boys like Nicky and Scott and seeing their development. Seeing how they can take control of things and their vision and drive, it’s rewarding to see them step up and carry on from where things left off from when I was playing.
- It’s been great to step up as a coach, and I felt no rush. Having had a couple of seasons away from the environment, then coming back and working with the U16s and U18s before moving onto the development team made me enjoy that side of coaching and develop in my career.
- From a coaching viewpoint, I learnt a lot from it. It was good to have that group of players, mirroring calls the seniors would use at a watered-down level, to help ease that transition to the senior side.
- It was certainly and enjoyable experience for both us as coaches and players and after speaking to the boys, they certainly got something out of it which all helps towards the bigger picture of progressing to the firsts.
- It’s too hard to pinpoint one or two players. They’re a good bunch of young players coming through, who are striving to improve and be the best they can. That was always the worry that when you’re young, you’re just happy to be here. But seeing the group that are here now have that desire to be in that senior jersey is what we need. They’ve all really stepped up and taken that chance and realise the hard work in between now and one day pushing for that starting senior jersey.