Richard Fussell will win his 50th cap for the Ospreys at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday night when the region takes on Cardiff Blues in a crucial RaboDirect PRO12 game.
The 28-year old completes a quickfire half-century of appearances for the region, just 19 months after making his debut against Ulster on the opening day of last season.
Having touched down within 30 minutes on his debut, he finished the campaign with nine tries in 29 games. Having switched to full-back from the wing, he has continued to be a one of the first names on the teamsheet, adding another two tries in 20 games so far this campaign.
Speaking about reaching the landmark figure this weekend, Fussell said he was pleased to be able to repay the coaches for their faith in him:
“It’s great to get to 50 games within two seasons” he commented.
“I definitely didn’t expect to do it so quickly with there being so many quality players around here. I’ve been fortunate in terms of injuries which mean I’ve been available for selection most weeks, and thankfully, the coaches have had faith in me which I hope I’ve repaid.
“They’ve given me the opportunity to put the jersey on and represent the region week in, week out, over the last two seasons and I’m just grateful for that. I love playing for the Ospreys and hopefully as I keep on playing I’ll continue improving as a player like I have since I first came here. I just want to keep putting that jersey on.”
Ospreys Head Coach, Steve Tandy, paid tribute to Fussell:
“To get to 50 appearances for the region in under two seasons is a great achievement and says everything you need to know about Fuss’. He is Mr reliable, Mr consistency, and you know exactly what you are going to get from him. He never lets you down.
“With his experience, he has proven invaluable on and off the pitch, working with our young backs and is a tremendous asset. Getting to 50 caps for the region is always something special, but Fuss’ will just want to get on with the job in hand as what’s important to him is the rugby.”
Fussell brings up the half century against Welsh rivals Cardiff Blues, before the Ospreys entertain his former team Newport Gwent Dragons next weekend, and he insists that the thought of possibly winning his 50th cap a week late against the Dragons had never entered his mind:
“No, it didn’t to be honest with you” Fussell said.
“I spent time at the Dragons, five good years, but the Ospreys is my team. Wherever I play, whoever we are up against, if it’s the Dragons, the Scarlets, Edinburgh, whoever, just being picked to play for the Ospreys is a great achievment. My 50th cap is special in itself regardless of the opposition.”