After confirming a move to former Super Rugby Champions, the Chiefs, Tyler Ardon is aiming to end his time at the Ospreys with a Guinness PRO12 flourish.
The Canadian has opted for a move to New Zealand after four years with the region, looking to continue his rugby journey around the world, but he says it was a difficult call to leave Ospreylia, where he has lived with his compatriot, Jeff Hassler, since 2013.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for me personally” said the Canadian.
“I’m looking forward to getting over there and playing some Super Rugby, finding out what the differences are between rugby in the north and south, what makes New Zealand so good.
“I’ve only got a short rugby career and I want to experience all the different things I can. It’s been a tough to decision to leave. I’ve been here four years and been happy to call it home so it’s definitely not a case of me not wanting to be here or the Ospreys wanting to get rid of me.”
As he prepares for his final farewell, attention turns to the most memorable games during his time in the black shirt. When asked, one particular match comes to mind without hesitation – the 21-18 defeat to Munster in the 2015 PRO12 play-off, when Josh Matavesi had a try ruled out in the last play that would have taken the Ospreys through to the final.
“Funnily enough, probably the standout game of the four years I’ve been here is the the semi-final against Munster two years ago” he said.
“We all thought we’d won it with the late score, with the final whistle to go, but it came back for a review. It ended up with the smallest of knock-ons and we lost it in a pretty heartbreaking way. That’s a game that’s stuck with me which is why I’m looking forward to going back there next weekend so much and, hopefully, making better memories to take away with me.”
Next weekend sees a rematch of that 2015 clash, the Ospreys again traveling to Thomond Park in Limerick for a PRO12 semi-final. Defeat would make it Ardron’s final game for the region but he’s determined to make one more appearance the following weekend, at the Aviva Stadium.
“It’s definitely motivation, that loss” Ardon admitted.
“It sucks to lose like that so you have to use it to build from there. I’ve been here four years and we have one, hopefully two, huge games ahead of us before I leave and, although I’m sad to be moving on there’s definitely a job still to be done. My focus first and foremost has to be on ending the season on a high with the Ospreys, taking us hopefully into a PRO12 final in Dublin.”
Since his Ospreys debut in a 29-29 draw against Leinster at the RDS in September 2013, Ardron has made 64 appearances, scoring 7 tries, the last of which came in the 24-10 win over Ulster at the end of April.
Everybody at the Ospreys wishes Tyler all the best for his future in New Zealand once this season is complete.