While the UK shivers in the grip of a cold spell that has seen temperatures in Wales plunge to -5 degrees over the last few nights, the Ospreys have managed to beat the big freeze by moving indoors to train at their Llandarcy Academy HQ.
The cold snap that took a grip shortly before Christmas has shown no signs of abating, and following the heavy snowfalls that hit the region during the New Year’s Day derby against Cardiff Blues pitches at the Ospreys training base and throughout the region have been declared unplayable thanks to the continuous freezing temperatures since then.
However, any disruption to the routine as the squad prepares for Friday night’s Magners League clash at Ravenhill, ahead of the two crunch Heineken Cup games against Clermont Auvergne and Leicester, have been kept to a minimum thanks to the availability of the Indoor Training Facility, or ‘barn’, at Llandarcy.
The squad have moved indoors this week to beat the freeze, with the players taking part in a series of training sessions in the barn, and Head Coach Sean Holley says that with the Met Office forecasting even more snow to come this week, combined with still lower temperatures, the coaching team are grateful to have access to the state-of-the art facilities at Llandarcy. He said:
“As coaches, this time of year can be an absolute nightmare when it comes to training arrangements as the weather can play havoc and make it impossible to get out onto the pitches.
“The barn at Llandarcy is a first class facility which allows us to continue working whatever the weather is doing. Obviously, it’s not the same as being out on the pitch, but having the barn available means that we are still able to get some meaningful work done during this cold period instead of scratching around looking for venues and having to compromise on our workload.
“It’s a big barn which means that most of our sessions can go ahead unhindered. Obviously, there is some impact, when we go through a full run then sometimes a lack of width is apparent, but we are able to do skills, contact area and individual sessions without any issues.
“We make use of the facility all year round, but it’s at times like this that you really appreciate the value of the barn. This is a crucial time for us as a group. January is a big month and having the barn available allows us to continue our preparations as near to normal as possible for the important matches we’ve got coming up over the next few weeks. The worst case scenario at this moment would be for us to have nowhere to train because of the adverse weather, which is a problem that I’m sure quite a few clubs are facing up to right now.”
The barn is used throughout the Ospreys set-up, not just at the elite player end, with age-grade teams and the three District sides (Swansea, Afan Nedd and Bridgend) making regular use of the facility throughout the season, not just during this wintry spell.