The Ospreys U18s women are in title contention this weekend, where a win against RGC will see them crowned Womens U18 regional champions
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s game, Head Coach of the U18s Josh Humphreys said:
“It’s been tough, but it’s also been really rewarding. We’ve come into this season with a new setup with the girls training three times a week. It’s been a lot more intense than what they’ve been used to before, but I think it’s risen the standards. The intensities have been there from the whole squad and the standards of the games have been fantastic especially when you think about the conditions.”
The competition has seen the young side pick up some impressive wins, including a 36-7 win over the Dragons, a 79th minute 22-20 victory over the Cardiff Blues, and last weekend’s narrow 8-7 defeat over the Scarlets.
Humphreys added: “The girls have worked really hard, and they’ve had to because of the toughness of the schedule. But they’ve fought for it and they’ve enjoyed it and the performances have been fantastic.”
The young side have yet to play a home game in the competition after last weekend’s game originally set to take place at St Helen’s changed at the eleventh hour to Ysgol Maes Y Gwendraeth in Llanelli due to a waterlogged pitch.
“Obviously it was difficult to go away and face the Cardiff Blues in round 2, and then last weekend’s very last-minute change to face the Scarlets. We’ve been sort of on the back foot in our games and haven’t played brilliantly, but the girls have really shown that fight and haven’t let it impact them!”
The impressive performances from the young side sees them sit top of the table on 13 points, just two points ahead of second placed Scarlets on 11. A win this weekend against RGC will see the Ospreys crowned U18s regional Women’s champions.
“They’ve not given up in these games and have played right up until the final whistle and sealed those wins pretty late on. It’s been a testament to their hard work, which they’ve replicated in training and in the gym. They’re a very young side and most are only first years, but they’ve really stepped up and earned those wins out of pure fight and shown that they’ve wanted it more. Yes it’s been difficult and tested the heart, but they’ve been worthwhile in the end.”
The coaching setup has been joined by Ospreys and Wales Woman international, Kerin Lake during this campaign.
Humphreys praised the addition saying: “It’s been brilliant having someone of Kerin’s ability involved with the squad. She’s had a couple of setbacks injury wise and it’s been her first opportunity in the coaching game. The girls have all stood up and listened to her and she’s been such a positive role model for them all.
“They certainly listen and take on board what she’s saying, not just from a coaching point of view but with her experiences and difficulties. She’s someone who can relate to them which a male can’t really do, having someone who is still there and doing it, rather than someone who has been there and done it has been magnificent. We’ve had lots of setbacks with injuries ourselves so she’s really helped and the girls have certainly taken to her.”
Attentions for the squad now turn to this Sunday’s final game of the tournament:
“This weekend is the first time we go in as favourites. The girls are three from three and we should go four from four if we perform against RGC. They’re the best side RGC have had and they’re a lot more competitive this year so we know it’s going to be tough. But I’m sure if the girls show that same effort, commitment, passion and attitude they’ve had throughout then we can hopefully get the win and win the championship.”