Young coach enjoying hands-on role in development competition
With young talent getting the opportunity to shine on the field in an Ospreys shirt during the LV= Cup period, the coaching team at the region is also using this period to allow similar opportunities to up and coming coaching talent.
With the likes of Head Coach, Steve Tandy, and Backs Coach, Gruff Rees, having previously enjoyed the opportunity to step up and undertake LV= Cup coaching duties earlier in their careers, this time it is the turn of Bridgend Ravens Backs Coach, Dan Griffiths, to benefit from such an opportunity.
Griffiths, who oversees the Ospreys age-grade programme at Llandarcy in his day-to-day role of Elite Youth Performance Manager, has been shadowing Rees over the last 10 days, taking a hands on role with the senior team in preparation for last Saturday’s game in Exeter and this Friday night’s return to the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field to face Sale Sharks.
It’s the second time that Griffiths has been able gain invaluable experience at the cutting edge of first class professional rugby in this way, having enjoyed a similar opportunity this time last year, and he says it is proving to be a very fulfilling period.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity” he acknowledged.
“It’s the second time doing it now, so I’m beginning to find my feet a bit more, hopefully. It’s a privilege to be invited in to be a part of the senior coaching group for these games, to learn from them and to come through.
“To be involved at the same time as the younger players I’ve worked closely with over the last few years, who are coming into the senior squad for the LV= Cup, makes it even more satisfying. It’s nice for them, and for me, to have a familiar face around, but it’s still extremely challenging.
“Having worked with some of these boys, helped them develop their core skills, it’s good to see them bringing that to the senior group. However, it’s important that they recognise they aren’t the finished article just because they’ve pulled the Ospreys shirt on in the LV= Cup. I’m no different, I may be involved in these games but I’m well aware that it is about development and what I can take from these two weeks to help me become a better coach going forward. That’s what the boys have got to do as well, use this experience to become better players.”
Griffiths gives credit to the guidance and assistance he is receiving from Rees and Tandy, pointing to how the coach development pathway in place at the region can help ensure the long term sustainability of the Ospreys.
“Steve and Gruff are great role models for me, and proof of the success of our development pathway, in the same way that players like Tipuric, Biggar and Beck are for example” he said.
“I’m extremely fortunate that they have been so giving with their time, helping me to grow as a coach and making sure that I’m confident and comfortable with what I’m supposed to be delivering.
“I’ve learnt a lot from working with them, there’s no secrets in this environment, and they are helping me grow. The way the pathway works, they assist in my development and I’ll take that back to the Premiership with Bridgend, and down to the age-grade, and the next generation of players looking to make their way into senior rugby.
“Having an opportunity like this isn’t just about me, or about the Ospreys at this moment in time, it’s about the long term sustainability of the Ospreys and of rugby in this region. I think it is proof that the pathway is working, for coaches and players. If you work hard and are showing potential, then there are opportunities for you to develop within regional rugby. I think that’s all anyone can ask for. It’s up to you to take that opportunity then when it comes.”