Former Swansea and Wales full-back Kevin Morgan has been appointed to the post of Strength & Conditioning Coach at the Ospreys.
The 2005 Grand Slam winner will take up his new duties when the squad returns for pre-season training in July, and will work alongside Head Strength & Conditioning Coach, Mark Bennett. He replaces Alex Lawson who this summer left the Ospreys to take up a senior role at Newport Gwent Dragons.
33-year old Morgan has combined playing and the post of Conditioning Coach for Neath RFC in the Premiership during the 2009/10 season, with a role within the Ospreys' elite player development system since the turn of the year. He will now hang up his boots to concentrate on his fledgling coaching ambitions, bringing to an end a successful playing career that saw him capped 48 times for Wales, and also play for Pontypridd, Celtic Warriors and Newport Gwent Dragons.
Speaking about his new position, Morgan said:
"I'm really pleased to get this role with the Ospreys, who are one of the best rugby organisations in Europe. I'm really looking forward to starting the role when the players come back for pre-season, it's a fantastic opportunity for me to work on the conditioning side of things with elite rugby players, and also, with some great coaches.
"Over the course of the last season I've got some great experience with Neath and within the Ospreys elite development set-up, but it's not something I've only just thought about. For probably the last four or five years, as my playing career has been coming to an end, I've been working towards this role, doing my Masters in Physiology at the University of Glamorgan and trying to build my all round knowledge and experience.
"It's something I've aspired to for a number of years, and when the players come back in July I'll get my opportunity. I've worked under Mark Bennett and Andrew Hore as a player, and I've got nothing but respect for them in terms of their conditioning knowledge and everything they have achieved in their respective fields. Likewise, I played under Scott Johnson and I'm excited about being a part of a team that has such a clear plan of where they are looking to get to.
"Obviously, to be able to take up a full-time role with the Ospreys and making such a big commitment, it means that I'm going to have to retire as a player which is something I'm a bit sad about. But, the work that I've put in to get to this stage, along with the faith that the Ospreys have shown in me, means that it's an exciting challenge that I'm looking forward to."
Andrew Hore welcomed the appointment, saying:
"One thing which I find myself constantly repeating and stressing is our commitment to identifying and developing Welsh talent, and Kevin is definitely someone who fits the bill. As a Grand Slam winner and former Wales fullback, his rugby pedigree is without question, and he has put in the hard work and the hours to develop himself a strong reputation as an up and coming Strength and Conditioning Coach. He has always shown that he is keen on learning and developing as a conditioning coach; even as a player, he was studying sports science and took sessions so he is a great role model to other players on what can be achieved by combining business and pleasure.
"The experience he has gained this season with the voluntary hours put in each weekday morning with the 'C' group of players at the Ospreys have really shown that he has the potential to be a valuable asset to the region, which is why we have invited him to play a bigger role here. We have a first class strength and conditioning team in place at the region, headed up by one of the world’s leading sports conditioning experts in Mark Bennett, and Kevin will learn an incredible amount in this environment, allowing him to develop even further.
"This faith that we have in developing up and coming Welsh talent has seen Alex Lawson develop to such an extent that he has now moved on to take the Head Strength & Conditioning role at the Dragons, a natural progression that allows him to continue with his own personal development, which can only be excellent news for Welsh rugby in general. Naturally, this then means than an opportunity has arisen on the development pathway for a young, up and coming Strength and Conditioning Coach, and we are delighted to welcome Kevin to the role."