Following today"â¬â¢s announcement of the British & Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa this summer, the six Ospreys named in the travelling squad have given their reaction to the news:
Following today's announcement of the British & Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa this summer, the six Ospreys named in the travelling squad have given their reaction to the news:
"I'm delighted and honoured to have made the squad and I'm excited about travelling to South Africa. To be selected for a Lions tour is the ultimate honour for a player and I'm extremely fortunate that this is the second tour party that I've made. To have a party of six players travelling from the Ospreys is a fantastic achievement for the region, one that everybody involved, players and coaches can be immensely proud of. Obviously there are some lads in the squad that will be disappointed not to have been selected, but I'm sure that they will have the character and desire to bounce back from this, and are young enough to make next Lions tour."
"It's fantastic news and after doing the Grand Slam with Ireland pretty much rounds off a great season for me. It's been a long, tense wait for everybody over the last few months with all the media build-up, but the waiting is over and I'm just thrilled to have made the squad. A Lions tour is a pretty special thing, all rugby fans know about the folklore that comes with it, and to be confirmed as part of the 2009 Lions is an incredible feeling. It's a unique experience, with four countries coming together, but with five Ospreys team-mates as well as 13 other Irishmen, I can't see it being that difficult for me to blend in."
"Having missed the first half of the season through injury, I could never be confident of making this squad despite all the media speculation, so I'm just relieved to have made the cut and I'm really looking forward to being a British and Irish Lion. It's something that every professional rugby player aspires to, so I'm understandably proud at the moment along with the rest of the guys. At the moment, our focus is very much on Saturday's match against Edinburgh and our chances of winning the Magners League so it hasn't really sunk in yet, but I'm sure that before too long the fact that we're Lions will start to hit home."
"The Lions are the absolute pinnacle of rugby in the country, to be named in the squad is a huge achievement and I'm delighted to have been included. The selection of six players in the touring party is a reflection of the fantastic work that the coaches and the rest of the squad do here day in, day out, and the six of us who have been named are the fortunate ones who have been recognised for those efforts. There could have been a few more Ospreys on the trip and I'm gutted for those who aren't going, but I'm sure that they will take it on the chin and come back better players for it."
"There's been a lot said and written about the Lions for a long time now, so it's a relief to hear your name in the squad for the tour. It's a real honour to make the squad, for the six of us personally and the Ospreys as an organisation as it's a real team effort and none of us would have been named if it wasn't for the support and back up we get here. It's going to be an exciting few months for us, and having been named in the squad, everyone named now faces the next big challenge, which is to secure a place in the Test twenty-two."
"It's fantastic news, I'm delighted to have been named a British & Irish Lion, and I'm really excited about the prospect of being part of such a special experience. As Ospreys, we can be proud that six of us have been named. It's an outstanding achievement for all of us as individuals and for the region to have such a large representation, and I think that we're all as pleased for each other as we are for ourselves. South Africa is a difficult place to go and win a test series, but it's going be a memorable occasion for all rugby supporters and I'm just going to make sure I enjoy every minute."Head Coach Sean Holley added:
"Today is about the players that have been selected for the trip and the nation will be united in sending our congratulations out to each and every one of them. For the Ospreys, Adam Jones, Alun-Wyn Jones, Mike Phillips, Shane Williams, Tommy Bowe and Lee Byrne have received an accolade from the Lions selectors for the season they have had so far, they are a credit to the Region and to Welsh rugby and everyone at Ospreylia is extremely proud of their achievement."