The Ospreys have revealed that two of the region's coaches will be jetting off to the other side of the world next week for a whistle stop tour of southern hemisphere rugby to pick the brains of some of the game's leading coaches.
Forwards Coach Jonathan Humphreys will fly to New Zealand next Wednesday (30th June) accompanied by veteran prop Andrew Millward, who will combine his Ospreys playing duties next season with a forwards coaching role at Ospreys feeder club Bridgend.
The pair will spend seven days attending a series of meetings with key members of the New Zealand coaching team, as well as a string of leading Super 14 coaches with a view to helping with their individual coaching development. The meetings have been organised by Ospreys Elite Performance Director Andrew Hore.
Andrew Hore commented:
"We've arranged for Jonathan and Andrew to spend a week in the southern hemisphere ahead of the new season as part of our budding internal coaching development programme. There was an opportunity in our pre-season schedule to send the guys for a short, but intensive spell of continued professional development which will prove to be a fantastic experience for them as young coaches, allowing them to get an insight into different rugby cultures and to tap into the extensive knowledge of some of the best coaches in world rugby.
This won't be the sort of trip where they'll be on the sidelines observing how people work, this will be a real opportunity for them to get inside the heads of top coaches and to discuss different aspects of the game and coaching. We haven't picked out the names of coaches at random; we've identified individual areas for improvement and then approached specific coaches who, we believe, can offer the best one-to-one advice to Jonathan and Andrew, given their own specific development needs.
Over the course of the week they'll meet with two Super 14 coaches, as well as some of the senior All Black coaching staff and discuss the game in depth with them. Areas for attention have been identified and they will travel with a specific mandate, they'll be looking at the Ospreys' game plan and specific points pertinent to their own coaching styles, as well as changes to the game such as the ELV's. By tapping into such a rich vein of knowledge and experience, as will be available to them during this week, they can only improve as coaches.
Over the summer we've been working on coaching development structures which will help individuals within the organisation. It's an exciting opportunity which I know the guys are excited about, they are really looking forward to experiencing the different environments and the unique opportunity of being able to pick the brains of some of world rugby's most renowned coaches. For Jonathan and Andrew, and for the Ospreys, this can only be a positive and rewarding experience."
Speaking ahead of making the trip, Jonathan Humphreys said:
"I'm looking forward to what will, I'm sure, be a fantastic development experience. It's not every day that you get the opportunity to go and learn from some of the best coaches in the world.
I'm really excited about the prospect of sitting down with coaches with such unique, high level experience, who have a proven track record of success in the game. I'm looking forward to sharing ideas and listening to new styles and approaches to the game. I've discussed the trip at length with Andrew Hore and we know what we want to get out of it. The coaches I'll be meeting with are ones that have not only been there and done it, their particular strengths are in areas that will benefit me personally and, with that, the Ospreys.
We've been working hard at the region since the players reported back for pre-season, but there's a gap in the schedule next week when we have given the squad some time off, so we agreed it was the perfect time to go over there before the build-up to the start of our season really starts to kick-in.
It'll also prove to be a valuable experience in terms of seeing the ELV's in action and getting a closer look at how it will impact on us and, hopefully, I'll get the opportunity to talk to some referees out there who are used to the changes in the game. I can't see any negatives in this, it's a positive development for the Ospreys as it will see us coming back to Wales as better coaches, and it's a fantastic opportunity for Andrew and myself."