As he prepares to make his first start for the region in Sunday's LV= Cup game against London Wasps at the Riverside Hardware Brewery Field (KO 3.15pm), Craig Cross says he won't be resting on his laurels after working hard to put himself in contention for a place in the Ospreys starting line-up.
The 23-year old tighthead prop was handed an opportunity with the region last summer when he was signed from Llandovery RFC, and after making a big impression on the coaches for his hard work at the training ground, he made his Ospreys debut off the bench in last weekend’s win at Cardiff Blues. After the positive impact he made at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday night, he has been handed the opportunity to pit himself against Aviva Premiership outfit London Wasps at the home of Bridgend RFC.
Cross says that he is looking forward to the game, and is hoping that he will be able to reward the coaches’ faith with another good showing:
“It’s a big moment for me” he acknowledged.
“It was nice to get on last week, I’d been looking forward to getting a chance, and hopefully I can follow it up with a big performance on Sunday.
“Last week was about two young teams, we were up against players that we knew from playing within Wales, but with Wasps there are some more experienced players, and it’s a bit more of the unknown so it’s probably a bit more of a test. I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully I can do the job that the coaches want me to.
“Don’t rest on your laurels, that’s the saying, always look to work hard and improve. You’ve got to carry on trying to get better and that’s what I’m trying to do. My scrummaging has come on lots since I came here, I’m improving on that all the time with the help of the coaches, and I’ve got to take that onto the park when I get the chance.”
Having previously experienced a taste of regional rugby at the Scarlets, where he made two Magners League appearances before being released, Cross, who began life in the second row, caught the eye of the Ospreys playing for the Drovers in the Welsh Premiership, leading to his move last summer with the Ospreys viewing him as a long term prospect.
Since being with the region he has worked hard to improve his fitness, working with the Ospreys medical and conditioning teams to change his body composition. In addition to this, following the decision of the board last summer to invest in the services of nutritionist Jon Williams, he has been able to benefit from specialist education and advice that, it is hoped, will help him to reach his full potential.
Cross agrees that he is in an environment that is geared up to making him a better player, conditioning and playing wise:
“Definitely. Training with guys like Duncan, Adam, Paul James and Mitch, who’s in the Wales squad now as well, it’s brilliant for me. It’s an awesome experience, and you learn something new every day, which is how it should be. I’m really enjoying it.
“It’s been brilliant, I’m loving it. It’s a great environment and it’s helping me improve all round. When I first came here I was out of shape but I’ve put a lot of hard work in, the conditioning team have really pushed me, and I’ve really enjoyed. Now I’ve got the chance to get a few games in, it’s important that I play well and don’t let the opportunity go to waste.
“After Wasps there are some big games coming up in the Magners League, and it would be great if I can be considered for those. If I do well on Sunday who knows, but I’ll just concentrate on this one and from there who knows?”