"Exciting" LV=Cup gives youngsters a chance

Young players can use their opportunity to become fully fledged Ospreys

Steve Tandy has challenged his Ospreys youngsters to follow in the footsteps of British & Irish Lion Justin Tipuric and regional colleagues like James King, Hanno Dirksen and Eli Walker in this season’s LV= Cup.

The quartet are just four youngsters who have used the development focused competition in recent seasons as a springboard towards becoming a fully fledged Ospreys, and after seeing the schedule for the 2013/14 competition confirmed earlier today he laid down the challenge to the next generation to make sure they take the opportunity when it comes their way.

The Ospreys have been pooled with some familiar foes and will face Leicester Tigers, Cardiff Blues, Exeter Chiefs and Sale Sharks when the competition gets underway in November.

Reflecting on the draw, Tandy said that the four fixtures would offer a perfect opportunity for up and coming players to show their mettles.

“The LV= Cup and the concept of a development competition is fantastic” Tandy said.

“We’ve used this competition as a tool to provide younger players with invaluable experience over the last few seasons and we’ve reaped the benefits of it. Players who gained their first exposure with the Ospreys in this competition have since gone on to establish themselves not only as key members of the senior squad, but in some cases as Welsh internationals and test-winning Lions.

“That shows the value of the LV= Cup to the region. It’s a crucial part of the development pathway. When our internationals are away we use it to get a good look at what the young talent we have coming through can do in this environment, rewarding those who have done well in the Premiership with an opportunity to test themselves at the next level.

“It’s not just about the Tipuric’s and the likes. Look at last season where Jamie Murphy and Sam Williams, two consistent Premiership performers, took their LV= Cup opportunity with both hands and have since been rewarded with professional contracts. We want to see more players stepping up during the LV= period showing us that they potentially have a future as an Osprey.

“Everybody within the Ospreys organisation gets pretty excited about the LV= Cup competition each season. There have been some great matches, some excellent individual and team performances, and I’m sure that our supporters relish the opportunity to watch the Ospreys of the future in action just as we do as coaches.”

Not only do the Ospreys utilise the LV= Cup period as an opportunity to blood young playing talent, they have a track record of handing over the reins to young coaches as well, with Tandy just one of those to have benefited from such involvement. He acknowledged that he is hoping to see some of the emerging coaching talent across the region step-up in a similar way:

“I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to lead the team in to the LV= Cup while I was at Bridgend and it was a fantastic chance for me to experience coaching at this level.

“We’ll look at the options available to us throughout the region over the course of the season but I’d hope that we can offer that experience to some of the other coaches here. We are all about development from within at the Ospreys and we don’t just talk it, we live it.”