After missing out on Warren Gatland's final selection for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, Jonathan Thomas says that he can't wait to get back into action with the Ospreys.
Along with Justin Tipuric, Andrew Bishop and Richard Hibbard, Thomas found out on Monday afternoon that he wouldn’t be part of Gatland’s travelling party, but with less than two weeks until the Ospreys get the new Rabodirect PRO12 campaign underway against Leinster at the Liberty Stadium, Thomas admitted that he’s now itching to meet back up with his team-mates at the region.
“Obviously it’s disappointing to miss out one the World Cup but there are new challenges ahead at the Ospreys” he said.
“I’ve worked hard over the last couple of months but the decision has been made, and I’m disappointed to miss out. You wouldn’t expect it any other way really.
“I wanted to be part of the squad going to New Zealand, but now that I’ve missed out I’ll be fully behind them in everything they do. It’s been a tough few weeks, and the players who miss out will obviously be disappointed, but the challenge now is to be ready for the start of the new season.
“The focus has changed but it’s important that I’m able to step up for the Ospreys at the start of the season. I’m really looking forward to going back into an environment where I feel I can be a positive influence.”
Thomas will go straight into contention for an opening weekend fixture against Leinster on Friday 2nd September (KO 7.05pm), and he says that the returning Ospreys could prove influential during the early season games:
“It’s not just about me, there are a few of us who’ve been involved in the World Cup squad at different stages only to miss out. It’s disappointing, but at the end of the day, it means I’m going back to my region where I'm determined to be a positive influence.
“Hopefully I can get involved, show the coaches what I’m about and get the go ahead to work with the squad ahead of the Leinster game. That’s my plan. I don’t want to mope around. I'm feeling really fit at the moment after all the hard work of the last few months. It's been good for me as I haven't really had a pre-season in the last three or four years because of injury. Now I can't wait to pull the Ospreys shirt on and hopefully play a part at the start of the season. If it works out that way I’ll be delighted.
“There is a good bunch of young players here, and I suppose I’m one of the old men. There’s plenty of promise at the Ospreys, and they need people to help bring them through. I’ll be trying to fill that gap. At the end of the day, I’m going back to my region, where I want to play a part in making the Ospreys stronger. If I can do that, if we can get the performance right as a team and we can kick on, then we all benefit.”