Connor returns to Ospreys set-up

Former Ospreys outside half Shaun Connor is returning to the region following his appointment as WRU Performance Skills Coach, and will work with players on the development pathway, from age-grade upwards.

Connor, 36, was only the second Osprey to reach 100 caps, his 100th and final appearance for the region coming in a 24-20 defeat to Connacht on the final day of the 2007/08 season. He won two league titles with the region, as well as featuring in the historic win over Australia in 2006, kicking 14 points on his way to picking up the man-of-the-match award. His tally of 490 points for the region is the fourth highest ever.

During his time as a player at the region he gained his first coaching experience with the Eyasses, and after moving to the Dragons he coached within their age-grade set-up and at Pontypool before moving into a skills role. His new role sees him following in the footsteps of current Ospreys Backs Coach, Gruff Rees, who held the same post prior to moving to Aironi last summer before returning to the region in February,

Connor will also join Allan Lewis’ Wales Under 18 set-up as they prepare for a tour to South Africa as an attached coach.

He said of the new challenge:

“It’s all about improving youngsters and I’m really looking forward to playing my part in developing future professional rugby players. I’ve already enjoyed the coaching roles I’ve undertaken so far and I’m looking forward to continuing my development as a coach.”

Andrew Hore, Chief Operations Officer at the Ospreys, commented:

“Development from within is our ethos and we’ve put together a world class development structure at the region and that applies to coaches as well as players.

“As an organisation we’ve put in place the structures that will allow us to give them all the support and assistance they need to become better coaches, which in turn will lead to us creating better players.

“Sustainable success on and off the field is what we are aiming for as a business and the continued development of young coaches will allow us to deliver just that.”

WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts said:

“Shaun will be putting the National Academy philosophy into practice within the Ospreys region. He will be delivering agreed strategic aims for skills delivery in order to ensure that players are given the opportunity to develop their potential at regional and national level. Shaun will work closely with regional and national squad coaches to deliver a skills coaching philosophy and his kicking expertise will certainly form a part of his role.”