Youngster after more game time in number nine shirt
Having enjoyed his breakthrough season with the Ospreys last time around, young scrum-half Tom Habberfield was one of the success stories of last season – albeit playing the majority of his rugby for the region on the wing.
Having made his Ospreys bow the previous season, featuring in all four of the LV= Cup games during 2011/12, the Bridgend youngster seemed likely to have another season learning the game in the Premiership with the Ravens while stepping up once again in the Anglo-Welsh competition.
However, a mid-season injury crisis that bit deeply into the Ospreys wing resources offered Habberfield the chance to step up to the plate as he was thrown into Heineken Cup action against English giants Leicester Tigers at 10 minutes notice in January. The 21-year old hasn’t looked back since, clocking up a further 10 appearances out wide by the end of the season.
Reflecting on what has been a pretty good 2013 for him so far, Habberfield said:
“It’s been nice to get so much game time last season and to be involved in so many big matches. I certainly didn’t expect to be have that experience. What it’s done is given me the confidence to hopefully kick on next season and challenge for that scrum-half starting jersey.
“It was a real shock, to be honest, especially that first Heineken Cup game when I didn’t really have any time to think about the size of the challenge, I was thrown straight into it at the last moment.
“I was grateful though that the coaches had the confidence to play me, and then to use me there over the last couple of months of the season. It was just nice to be out there on the pitch getting some great experience under my belt.
“I’ll play anywhere on the pitch if it means I’m playing for the Ospreys, and being used on the wing meant I was involved quite a bit in the second half of the season. The experience can only be a positive for me looking forward to the new one.”
Having used the opportunity out wide to show what he can do, Habberfield is looking to establish himself in his favoured position in the new season, doing battle with Tito Tebaldi and Rhys Webb for the number nine shirt, and he says he’s been encouraged by what the coaching team have told him over the summer.
“The coaches have told me that they do see my as a nine, which is obviously good news for me” he said.
“I’ll be pushing for that nine jersey, that’s my goal for this season.
“I learnt so much off Kahn while he was here. I was really grateful to him for the help he gave me on and off the pitch, but he’s gone now and the shirt is up for grabs. Webby is unfortunately injured at the moment but Tito has come in and he seems a great bloke. I know he’s a very good player and I’m looking forward to what will be a good battle for the shirt.”