Ospreys host District squads at final Magners

The Ospreys will be backed by hundreds of young players from their District age-grade teams when they face Newport Gwent Dragons at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night.

It's the final game of the regular Magners League season ahead of the play-offs, and bosses at the region have invited the players and coaches from each of the three Districts as their guests for the evening, where they will also be joined by the Swansea Schools Under-15 Dewar Shield winning squad.

Changes introduced by the Ospreys this season have reinforced the District set-ups place at the heart of the elite development pathway, as an essential stepping stone for all young players hoping to establish themselves as future Ospreys, and the invitation to each age-grade from Afan Nedd, Bridgend and Swansea is seen as a way of marking the end of a successful season for the Districts.

One coach who will be bringing his players along is Michael Dyer, Afan Nedd Under-12's. He said:

"This year has been great for us. It's been fantastic to see how the Ospreys value the Districts and they are certainly committed to ensuring that the boys see being involved in the Districts as the first step to becoming a full Osprey.

"We're all looking forward to attending the Dragons game, it will be a good experience for the boys and will help to cement relationships between the District set-up and the Ospreys, as well as providing a real incentive for the boys to see what they can hopefully achieve and experience for themselves as future Ospreys."

Bridgend Under-13's coach James Evans was in agreement:

"Bridgend District has an excellent relationship with the Ospreys, which has continued to grow throughout the season. There have been changes to the set-up which have reinforced how important the Districts are to the player pathway, and the kids are gaining so much from the Ospreys commitment.

"The invitation to the Dragons game is a pat on the back for the District players, which will help to create a real sense if identity and belonging to the Ospreys among the boys who are all looking forward to getting along to the Liberty Stadium."

Ospreys Managing Director, Roger Blyth, welcomed the move to invite along players, coaches and families from the Districts:

"The District set-up is a hugely valuable part of the development pathway for the Ospreys, and in his role as Elite Performance Director, Andrew Hore has worked hard to build the relationship with the three Districts in our region and to reinforce their value.

"As such, at the end of a long season we felt it appropriate to invite those involved within each of the Districts to the Dragons game, to say thank you for their efforts on and off the pitch, but also, to really make them feel a part of the wider Ospreys family. It's important that they feel valued as part of the Ospreys and I'm sure that they will enjoy their visit.

"They will help to create what should be a great atmosphere for a Welsh derby, and the experience will no doubt prove to be an inspiration for some of them as they look to make their way in the world of rugby. We look forward to welcoming them to the Liberty Stadium on Friday evening and hope that they enjoy the visit."