Fussell pleased with side’s efforts

We caught up with Head coach for the Ospreys Development team, Richard Fussell to get his thoughts on the opening rounds of the inaugural Celtic Cup.

The Development team faced local rivals the Scarlets A in the opening round at the Morganstone Brewery Field. A hat trick from skipper Ifan Phillips, and tries from Mitchell Walsh, Luke Morgan and Morgan Morris edged the Ospreys ahead in a thrilling encounter between the two sides. Despite a yellow card for Dewi Cross in the opening quarter, the young side held their own well and dug in deep to claim the win.

Fussell said: “It was a gritty performance from us, I thought we showed real moments of class in both attack and defence and there were a lot of positives for us in that game that we could take out. The Scarlets were a very good outfit and they tested us on both sides of the ball, but looking back at the game it was a very high scoring game for us defensively and there were quite a few things for us to work on but overall it was very pleasing for us to get off to a really good start and we had a platform to build on.”

After the opening round, eight players from the side that faced the Scarlets A team were named in the Ospreys team to face Munster out in Cork for round three of the Guinness PRO14. Fussell added: “It was great to see some of the boys make the step up to play for the firsts out in Munster, with the likes of Morgan Morris making his first PRO14 start and Guido Volpi making his Ospreys debut off the bench. I thought Luke Morgan had a great game too on his PRO14 debut and scoring a try in the process.”

The Ospreys side faced tough opposition in round two, when they welcomed Munster A to St Helen’s. The experienced Irish side proved too strong for the young Ospreys, with the visitors claiming the 7-52 win.

“It was a very tough ask out there for those boys. It's never good to ship that amount of points in a game, but there are positives we can take out of it. There were some really good performances from the likes of Josh Thomas, Will Griffiths and Joe Thomas and I thought Harri Morgan had a really good performance and led well as the captain. Joe Grabham and Charlie Davies were outstanding in the back row and it was really pleasing to see Kieran Williams back on the field as well.”

Josh Thomas claimed the only points for the young Ospreys side with a converted try, but the head coach praised his side’s efforts: “This competition is a great opportunity for us to expose these boys to a higher level and standard of rugby and just allowing them to experience what that’s like. Munster are a well drilled machine and a tough outfit both home and away. That team are four or five years more experienced compared to us who are fresh out of the tracks and in certain areas of the game it certainly showed.”

He added: “From our perspective we still created opportunities, we just needed to be a bit more clinical in our play. Of course, we are disappointed in that game and the tries we conceded. But it’s a growing experience for the boys. Some will handle it really well and build from it and others may not take it as well but that’s all part of the development of the competition. Facing a strong side like Munster can only benefit the boys. The next time they face them, they’ll know exactly what to expect and we just have to keep building and going forward and going in the right direction.”

The Ospreys Development team travel to Durbarry Park on Friday evening to face Connacht Eagles for round three, K.O 7pm.