Ospreys Appoint World-leading Conditioning

The Ospreys are delighted to confirm the appointment of one world rugby's most sought after fitness experts to head up a new-look conditioning team. Mike McGurn (erroneously referred to as Mick) has agreed a three-year deal with the region.

The Ospreys are delighted to confirm the appointment of one world rugby's most sought after fitness experts to head up a new-look conditioning team. Mike McGurn (erroneously referred to as Mick) has agreed a three-year deal with the region and will take up the post of Head Conditioning Coach after six years in a similar post at the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) where he was an integral part of Eddie O'Sullivan's coaching team. Former Swansea back Alex Lawson will work alongside McGurn in the role of Conditioning Coach.

The Irishman's contract at the IRFU expired at the end of the 2008 Six Nations and he joins the Ospreys after a summer of speculation that saw him approached by both the New Zealand and England Rugby Unions as well as Gloucester RFC and Waikato. The former Irish cross-country and athletics international joined the IRFU set-up in January 2002 shortly after O'Sullivan's appointment and went on to become the longest serving Conditioning Coach in international rugby until he left the post in April.

Prior to working in the Ireland set-up, 37 year-old McGurn enjoyed huge success in rugby league as fitness coach for the St Helens team that won the treble of Challenge Cup, Super League and World Club Championship in the 2000-01 season. He has also worked in similar roles for Hull City FC and Leinster Rugby and, whilst attending university in Philadelphia, he gained valuable experiences in a range of sports, with Philadelphia Eagles (NFL), Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) and Philadelphia 49ers (NBA).

Speaking today about his appointment, Mike McGurn said:

"The prospect of joining the Ospreys and carrying out a key role for such a progressive and forward thinking organisation was quite simply too good to turn down. When I first came to meet Andrew Hore I was struck by the fantastic atmosphere within the set-up, it just felt like an outfit with massive potential to be successful. I've worked closely with Munster over the last year and I can sense a similar feeling here.

I've had a number of options to consider over the summer, some of which were very tempting, but I felt that the Ospreys offer was best for me personally and professionally. At this stage of my career I need to get away from international rugby and I believe that I can have a greater impact working with players on a day-to-day basis rather in the piecemeal fashion you do in the international game. This will allow me to develop further and move closer towards my ultimate aim of becoming the best fitness coach in the world.

Hopefully, I can help to develop a culture where the players will not only enjoy working hard in training, but will also see the benefits of what we are trying to do in match situations. Hard work is the key to everything in rugby, there's no quick fix. Sometimes teams will look for the easy solution but winning teams are the ones who put in the hard work."

Ospreys Elite Performance Director Andrew Hore heralded the appointment of McGurn, who has signed a three-year deal, saying that the region would benefit from the knowledge of a world leading conditioning expert. He commented:

"This is an extremely important appointment for the region, to be able to confirm the appointment of Mike McGurn as Head Conditioning Coach is a huge coup. He is extremely highly regarded in the conditioning world and his decision to join the Ospreys is a massive statement of intent for both him and the region. He is a strong character who has been one of the driving forces in the Irish game for the last six years, a period which has been their strongest in recent history. At the Ospreys he will be instrumental in driving our core values and behaviours and will a play a significant senior role within the management team.

"Working closely with Mike will be Alex Lawson who has been promoted to the role of full-time Conditioning Coach after three years with the Ospreys. He has completed a solid apprenticeship in this time and in his new role he will enjoy added responsibilities under the tutorship of Mike McGurn, which will allow him to become a more competent Conditioning Coach of world class standing."

Irish international winger Tommy Bowe, who signed for the Ospreys from Ulster this summer, is one player who has already worked closely with Mike McGurn and he says that the appointment will be a huge boost for his new team:

"I've worked with Mike over the last four years and he has had a significant influence over my strengthening and conditioning work, as he has with the rest of the Ireland squad. He is extremely highly regarded within the camp there and I have no doubt that will prove to be the case at the Ospreys. He'll push the boys hard in training but the difference he can make is incredible, and I'm sure we'll all see the benefits."