Ian Evans will look to put 10 months of injury frustration behind him this weekend when he returns to Ospreys action against Glasgow at Firhill on Friday.
The 23 year-old second row has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury while on Wales duty last November, and he says that he’s delighted to have hit his long term comeback target of being involved in this fixture: Evans said:
“I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time now, we’d set the Glasgow game on September 25th as my target so I’m relieved and glad that we’ve managed to hit that goal. Being named among the replacements is a big step towards the direction of getting back onto the field in an Ospreys shirt, and hopefully, building up a bit of confidence and a bit of form for the season ahead.
“It’s been a long 10 months or so, being out injured for any period of time has its dark moments and frustrations but I’d rather look ahead, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. Hopefully, my future as an Osprey is bright as they say.”
The Ospreys face a Glasgow side in good form on their home patch, having kicked-off the new Magners League season with an impressive 22-9 home win over Munster, which they followed up by sending the Scarlets back to Wales pointless, defeating them 19-11. Evans realises that Friday night’s game will be tough, but he says he’s simply looking forward to the challenge:
“Glasgow have had a good start to the season at home, they’ve got two good wins to their credit so we know that it’s going to be a tough game. They’ve got good forwards, and in the second row in particular, their captain Alastair Kellock is a very good player. If I do come off the bench and compete against him, it’ll be a good test for me at this stage, and a real challenge given my lack of rugby, but I’m looking forward to hopefully getting on the pitch for a few minutes at some stage.
“It’s going to be tough, I realise that, I haven’t played in 10 months so I’m obviously not in peak condition. You can do all the fitness work you like, but nothing compares to match fitness and there’s only one way to get there. I’m going to take it step-by-step, and set myself short-term goals. If I do that, everything else will take care of itself and hopefully I’ll be fully up and running before too long.”
Evans comes into the squad having watched the two recent defeats from the stands, and he insists that now is not the time for anyone in Ospreylia to be reaching for the panic button, saying:
“It’s been a disappointing start to the season, we all realise that and nobody is happy to lose games. You can point to various things, there’s been lots of groups of players coming back at different times, that’s a fact you can’t get away from, and that doesn’t make it any easier, but it’s not an excuse. Johnno’s come in and he’s brought a new game plan that we are all working on, and like anything new, it can be difficult to fully grasp and implement at first, especially when people in the squad are at different stages because of how long they’ve been back and part of the squad. We are working hard to get it right though, and we are definitely heading in the direction, but like they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s difficult to expect instant results, but if we keep going the way we are heading, I’m confident that things will click into place.”