The Ospreys have this week played host to a group of young players and coaches from German club ASV Cologne Rugby.
The visit is the third this season from members of the Bundesliga newcomers, after Assistant Coach Dieter Hanf spent a week in Ospreylia during pre-season, before the successful ladies section arrived in the region a couple of months later.
Once again, the trip has been organised by Ospreys Development Officer Tony Thomas and Cologne’s Swansea born Head Coach and Development Manager, Steve Harries. The development trip has seen a selected group of talented youth players from Cologne spending time this week working within the region’s Elite Development programme as well as watching the senior squad training, whilst Hanf and Tobias Sylvester, a Youth Development Coach, have also met with some of the Ospreys coaches to pick up tips that they can take back to Cologne with them to help with their own personal development and understanding of what is required at the professional level of the game.
Tony Thomas said:
“This week has been a fantastic experience for the three young players who have made the trip, Philipp Geraghk, Ben Hesse and Kevin Kolatzik. They have been able to participate with the Best of the Rest squad, and observe Ospreys rugby up close.
“Rugby in Germany is very much a developing sport with very limited resources. My relationship with ASV Cologne has been ongoing since 1994 when I took a WRU Level 2 coaching course where Steve Harries was a delegate, and since then, I have made many visits to lead coaching courses and the like, and this has now developed so that both the Ospreys and Cologne enjoy a good working relationship, with three visits to the region so far this season.
“As one of the established rugby nations, we have a responsibility to help develop the game in other countries, and this link-up will hopefully help to improve coaching and playing standards in Cologne.”
Swansea born Harries, a qualified IRB Educator, first began coaching in Cologne in 1992. He added:
“This development project has been a huge success in terms of accelerating the development of these young players and the coaches involved. They have looked at skills, techniques, tactics, fitness, strength and nutrition, and have a better understanding of how each aspect cam impact on them as a rugby player.
“Hopefully, given the links that are already in place, between myself and Tony personally, and with the Ospreys being my home region, we will be able to continue this relationship long-term.”