Gareth Owen and Rhys Webb went back to Bridgend College this week to present a new playing strip to the their former college as part of the Ospreys new college rugby development programme.
The duo handed the kit over to Bridgend College Director of Rugby, Gareth Nicholas, along with members of the current college team, which competes in the WRU National Colleges League.
Bridgend College has a long and proud history of player development, with a number of Owen and Webb’s Ospreys team-mates also having represented the college, including experienced players like Andrew Bishop and Lee Byrne, as well as younger Ospreys such as Justin Tipuric, Matthew Morgan, Scott Baldwin and Lloyd Peers, who was awarded the Oustanding Achievement In Sport Award at Bridgend College's Annual Awards for the 2008/09 academic year.
Speaking about going back to handover the new strip, Webb said:
“It’s great to be able to go back to Bridgend College and present their new kit. It’s a fantastic place for rugby development, and now that they are working closely with the Ospreys it can only lead to even more young players coming through the system.”
The Ospreys new college initiative is being operated in conjunction with the three further education colleges within the region, Bridgend College, Neath Port Talbot College and Gower College Swansea, with all three establishments working closely with the Ospreys’ Elite Youth Development department to provide an unrivalled rugby programme at each campus, with the aim of ensuring a constant flow of quality young players through the system.
It focuses on coach and player development, following the Ospreys philosophy and system of rugby to create a stronger sense of regional identity. Ospreys staff will provide support and assistance to the college coaches, who in turn will follow a specially created development plan allowing them to enhance their own skills.
As part of the programme, the three colleges have been supplied with brand new Kooga playing strip that incorporates Ospreys branding, as well as that of their associates, Italian clothing brand Freee – Back to Life,and Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed, both of whom are supporting the initiative.
Mark Jones, Principal, Bridgend College, said:
“We’re delighted to work with the Ospreys on this project. The development of our students as individuals is an important part of our college’s ethos and that’s what this project is about so we are delighted to be a part of it.”