“I enjoyed every minute of it”

Young second row enjoyed his first senior international experience this summer and now he wants to make sure it’s not a one-off.

  • 21-year old second row Adam Beard made his full Wales debut in the test win over Samoa in June
  • It capped a season that saw him make 12 Ospreys appearances, his most yet, despite an elbow injury in February ruling him out of the rest of his region's games
  • Looking forward to contesting a spot this season with fellow Wales caps Alun Wyn Jones, Bradley Davies and Rory Thornton, along with the ever reliable Lloyd Ashley 

Adam Beard, became the latest Welsh international off the Ospreys production line last month when he made his full international debut off the bench in the 19-17 win over Samoa.

The 21-year old second row featured in the final 30 minutes of the victory in Apia, ironically featuring in the engine room alongside regional teammate Rory Thornton, also making his full debut.

Now, the former Birchgrove RFC youngster wants to ensure he builds on what was in many ways a breakthrough year personally, his Wales bow the undoubted highlight. He made 12 appearances for the Ospreys during 2016/17, up five from the previous season. An elbow injury picked up in the early February win over Zebre in Parma ended his regional campaign prematurely, only for him to get the nod for the summer tour as he returned to fitness, providing him with a summer he’ll never forget.

“It was a really good, positive experience” said Beard.

“As a young man, going into the international environment with more experienced boys, it was obviously my first time and it was a great experience, topped off by getting my first Wales cap. I was chuffed to bits and I made sure I enjoyed every minute of it as you never know if it will happen again.

“Obviously getting my first cap in the Samoa game was the standout moment. It was all a bit surreal to be honest. Having been injured since February and missed the end of season I was surprised to be going on tour. If I’m honest, I thought it would probably just be a learning experience for me, a training experience, and I’d come back without playing but having a a better understanding of what is needed to make the next step.

“To actually pull on the Wales shirt and play in that game was an incredible feeling, more than I could ever have hoped for.”

Having missed the start of last season as he served a suspension hanging over from the 2016 U20 World Cup, Beard soon established himself in the squad, featuring regularly between the end of October and his injury in early February.

As he reports back to Llandarcy Academy of Sport for pre-season training, far from feeling he’s ‘made it’, Beard is well aware of the hard work still ahead as he looks to cement his place in the match day 23 at the Ospreys.

“It was the most Ospreys games I’ve played in a season which was great for my development” Beard acknowledged.

“I loved being involved and I got to play in some big games but the injury came at the wrong time for me.

“That was really frustrating but it can’t take away from what was a big season for my development, finished off with my first Wales cap. All round it was a big season for me that’s given me a taste and I don’t want that to be as good as it gets. I want to build on last season and keep on developing, as a player and a person.”

“I’m only 21 so I’m still a young guy with lots to work on and that’s my focus for pre-season and after that really. I’ve got to keep working hard. I’ve got a bit more experience and I’ve got to use it, keep putting my hand up and offering more around the place, always looking to be better at what I do.”

Beard knows that if he has any further Wales aspirations he needs to perform in a keenly contested position at a regional level first.

Now one of four Welsh caps in the second row alongside Alun Wyn Jones, Bradley Davies and Thornton, he will also be battling against the ever reliable Lloyd Ashley and up and coming youngsters including Wales U18 skipper Will Griffiths and 19-year old James Ratti, who has already featured four times for the senior team.

“You look at the quality we’ve got in the second row at the Ospreys, and the strength in depth in that position, it’s awesome” he said.

“The competition for places can only be a good thing, with us all pushing each other, and as a youngster, I can only learn from being around such good players.

“I want to play more games, that’s a clear target for me this season. If you think about last season, I started the year with a ban and ended it early through injury, that’s a lot of games I missed, which doesn’t help me personally or the Ospreys either.

“First and foremost, I want to do well at the Ospreys, fight for a regular place and hopefully I can achieve that. It won’t be easy up against so many good players in my position but there will be opportunities over the year and I’ve got to make sure I take them.”

Watch the Ospreys in pre-season action against Leicester Tigers at Bridgend Brewery Field on Friday 11th August and Bath at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday 20th August. Tickets for both games are on sale now at www.ospreysrugby.com/buytickets