With the Ospreys' Heineken Cup quarter-final against Biarritz just hours away, Andrew Hore has paid tribute to the work of the medical team at the region.
Hore, Elite Performance Director at the region, made his comments after lock Alun Wyn Jones defied expectations by returning to action well ahead of schedule following surgery to an elbow injury sustained during the Six Nations, allowing the coaching team to name him in the starting XV for this weekend's crunch game against Biarritz in San Sebastian.
Head Physio Chris Towers and his colleagues Daloni Lucas and Brian O'Leary have worked round the clock throughout the season to provide first class medical care for the squad, and with the biggest game of the season so far on the horizon, have managed to clear the treatment room of all but a handful of injured players, providing a timely boost for the squad.
"The only time that the medical team at a rugby club tends to come on most people's radar is when the injury list grows and key players are missing, something which unfortunately is an expected part of the game; some injuries are simply unavoidable given the physical nature of a contact sport.
"However, Chris and his team at the Ospreys have done a great job throughout the season to keep the injury list down. The foresight of the Directors has allowed us to invest heavily into the medical set-up here over the last twelve months, including the appointment of a third Physio. This allowed us to focus on prehab care, and to devote more time for one-to-one work with players in rehab, which has had a clear impact on players returning to fitness.
"The case of Alun Wyn recently is a great example of the excellent work that they are doing. By opting for an aggressive course of rehab for him, they have been able to defy predictions and ensure that we have a key player available for a massive game ahead of schedule. People are quick to criticise, but the work of Chris, Daloni and Brian this season has been first class and they deserve recognition for their efforts."