- On the upcoming opponents, the Emirates Lions:
I think the biggest challenge is – as we've alluded to – some of the physical change around the heat. Not one Northern hemisphere side has won a game in South Africa, so that gives you the magnitude of the competition over this side of the world, especially when you've got a lot of returning South African players, national players into their teams and they're peaking, getting ready for, no doubt, their Test series against Wales in the summer. So from that point of view, it's a very, very stiff challenge but one we're really looking forward to because it's not often you can try and get a first these days. If we can be the first team to win on Friday, that'd be great.
I think they start games very well. They score a lot of the tries in the first 20 minutes and try to get on top of you quickly, so we need to make sure that we are ready for that onslaught, as it were. We need to certainly approach it with the right mindset.
And secondly, they also have a very strong counterattack element. You know, they want to be positive whenever they can and try to stretch you from both sides of the pitch and stretch your defences as much as they can. So we need to basically get control of their dangerous runners, especially on the edges and if we can do that, that will give us a chance but it's a tough challenge, as we've already mentioned.
- On George North's availability
No, he's not fully training yet. I think we spoke in previous weeks about that. As I said the last 5% is always the hardest to get, and he wasn't quite right. We don't think he's too far away but again, he's a big man whose knee will respond differently to other people with the same injuries. Everyone's different. So we're governed by the symptoms that happen once he trains. We need to make sure that we get control of that because like with all of our players – as I have said to everybody who normally comes on – we want players not back for a week, we want them back for good, so we've got to make sure that we get ourselves in a position where we can get healthy players that stay fit.
Yeah, that's the aim [getting him back for the derbies]. As we said, we expected him for Zebre, but there's been a couple of setbacks in how his knees reacted to training. We don't think they're serious setbacks, we're getting on top of that. So, you know, you've got to build endurance into an injury as well so it doesn't react every time it's stressed… you know, your body stresses and it reacts. So we’ve taken measures and the pre-ab rehab stuff that we are doing, we're comfortable getting back as soon as his body will let him, but yeah that is a few weeks away and I'd like to think that he's certainly back for that [the derbies] for sure.
- Update on Alun Wyn Jones' return:
Would he be in the mix? As I said, on an individual basis, it'll be determined on that. We'll have a look at where everybody is both physically and mentally, and the people that we think can contribute against the Stormers will travel and people that won't, won't [travel]. We've got some big games coming up after that – three Welsh derbies in the real crux of our season so, we want to make sure that we've got fit soldiers and enthusiastic people that are fit and able to perform well for the Ospreys and give us the best chance to win.