Young Ospreys prop looks towards the next few weeks of LV=Cup rugby
23 year old prop Marc Thomas has come a long way since he started as a 6 year old playing for his local side in Builth Wells. Playing club rugby until he was 18, which he admits was largely "just for fun", things changed when he spent 9 months in New Zealand playing for Otago.
His return to Wales saw him join Bridgend Ravens where he caught the eye of Ospreys Head Coach Steve Tandy. During last season he combined playing for the Ospreys feeder club with a development contract that saw him feature for the Ospreys 7 times. He got his first start of the 2013/14 season last week against Munster and starts again tonight against Leicester Tigers.
Marc describes the step up from premiership to regional rugby as a big one:
"Playing fully professional rugby has been a lot more physical and much faster. There is a lot less time for mistakes, but I have been in the environment for over a year now. I'm still learning but hopefully I will keep getting better as I get more opportunities to play at this level, as the only way of really improving, especially for a front row forward, is game time."
Despite not being a born and bred Ospreylian, he admits there is nowhere he would rather be playing: "I couldn't be with a better team as a front five forward to hone my skills. Throughout the entire squad there are international players. I have learnt so much from them. Having Adam there as a Lion tight head, it's great to be able to pick his brains and Duncan has and still does help me loads.”
Over the last couple of weeks, with the Ospreys losing 13 players to International duty it has been a very different and much younger squad that have been training together. Discussing the Autumn test period Marc commented:
"It's been a good few weeks; obviously it's been a very different dynamic with a lot of new faces coming in but it's a great opportunity for players such as myself to try and show the coaches that we're capable of playing week in week out. Everyone has been getting on really well. We were unlucky with the loss in Munster, and there have been lessons learnt from that game. For me personally, as a forward, it was about being a lot more streetwise, doing more technical work and putting what we do on the training field into practice on the field".
The Ospreys 2013/14 LV=Cup campaign starts tonight in Welford Road against Leicester Tigers and continues next week at home in the Liberty Stadium against local rivals Cardiff. Looking forward to the next few weeks of competition the young prop remarked:
"The last few weeks of training and the Munster game has been a huge learning curve for us all but I'm sure over the next few weeks of the LV period we can come together and get a few results.
We all know our roles but Leicester are a very physical outfit. I think if we match that and everyone does as they are supposed to we should be fine. All the English teams are big and they pride themselves on their forwards so it will definitely be a good test for me as a prop.
We are all really looking forward to taking on Cardiff at the Liberty in a fortnight. It's great to play at home with all the amazing fans there to support us. You really can't beat running out at home when there's a big crowd and they are making loads of noise. The players all really appreciate it as it's so motivating so hopefully we will have a big turnout for the derby game. Hopefully I will be involved as it would be great to be but I just take it a week at a time".
The game against the Cardiff Blues kicks off at 7.30pm on Friday 15th November. The match is untelevised so the only place to watch it is the Liberty Stadium. As a special offer all adult tickets are just £15 while OAP's, Students and Children will pay just £5 to watch the next generation of talent.
Tickets are available to purchase from the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, online at www.ospreysrugby.com/buytickets and via the Ticket Hotline on 0844 815 6665.