The Ospreys today confirmed the appointment of two new coaches to the age-grade structure within the region's Academy.
COACHING APPOINTMENTS TO STRENGTHEN ACADEMY SET-UP
Gary Clement has been appointed to the post of U16 backs coach, with Ioan Cunningham taking up the role of forwards coach with the U18 squad. The two appointments will strengthen the coaching teams as they look to continue the good work that has seen the region produce a crop of young talent that has gone on to represent not only the Ospreys and Wales, but also, the current British and Irish Lions touring party.
Both coaches are currently employed full-time within the Ospreys Community team as Development Officers and boast a wealth of coaching qualifications up to UKCC (WRU) Level 3. Ioan's previous roles has seen him working for the Scarlets as an age-grade Head Coach and as Scarlets Pre-Academy Skills Coach, while prior to joining the Ospreys, Gary was District Head Coach for Afan Nedd Rugby.
Speaking about the appointments, Ospreys Elite Performance Director Andrew Hore said:
"It gives me great pleasure to confirm the appointments of Ioan and Gary to the age-grade coaching teams. These are extremely significant appointments for Ospreys rugby, as you can't underestimate the importance of the individuals tasked with developing young talent.
"It is important that we have alignment throughout the business in the way that we develop players if we want to ensure a supply of quality top-line talent over the next five to ten years and beyond. Ioan and Gary will have a part to play in this, and they now have a fantastic opportunity to build on the excellent work that they already do in the Community department, where for many youngsters they are the very first contact that they ever have with the Ospreys. It is vitally important that we ensure we have the best people available working with our younger players, who are, after all, our future.
"For next season our senior coaches, headed up by Scott Johnson as Director of Rugby, will work closely with the age-grade coaching teams to ensure a consistent style of rugby is played throughout the organisation, so that as players progress it will be less of a step-up into the senior squad as they will know instinctively what is expected of them."
Andrew Millward, Ospreys Regional Performance Development Manager, has overseen the recruitment process, and he added:
"We had an excellent standard of coaches from within the region applying, which is obviously excellent news as we look to develop the next generation of coaches as well as players to help ensure the long term success of the Ospreys. Ioan and Gary are outstanding young coaches who already boast an excellent track record of developing talent, and I have no doubt that they will prove to be a success in their roles within the age-grade structure.
"We are not just looking at these two appointments though. There are a number of individuals already along the coaching development pathway currently involved at district level, who we will be encouraging to strengthen their relationships within the age grade structure. They will be attached to an age grade team for a period during next season, assisting with their individual development and ensuring that the Ospreys continue to produce high quality coaching talent for many seasons to come."