Ospreys players took to the streets today to assist the region's refuse collectors in one of the club's first community initiatives of the new season.
The ‘Rubbish Runs’, which take place all week across Ospreylia in Neath Port Talbot, Swansea and Bridgend, are to mark the arrival of the Ospreys’ summer signing, former All-Black and one time refuse collector, Jerry Collins.
Eagle-eyed early risers in Neath Port Talbot spotted the unusual sight this morning as the nine Ospreys players and Head Coach Sean Holley, pounded the pavements of Baglan’s domestic rubbish routes. However, those who missed the players will have another chance to catch them in action, as the Runs continue in Bridgend, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, all this week.
Collins, who regularly incorporated his bin collecting duties into his training regime before becoming a professional rugby player, said:
“It was great to get back out there on the bin routes, it brought back some fond memories for me, though I can’t say I miss the early mornings. The team spirit that the guys have here is very similar to how we operate on the field, you’re part of a group that needs to work together to function and do its job properly, and I think today’s activities have really drilled that message home to everyone.
“It’s also been an unusual, but very effective way for me to see more of the ‘Ospreylia’ region that I’ll be representing as part of the Ospreys, I’ve been round communities and routes that I would probably never have come across had it not been for the Rubbish Run, and it’s been a fantastic experience. We’ve had a warm welcome not only from the refuse collection team but also from all the early risers that have come out and given us a wave.”
The Rubbish Runs form part of a wider programme of community initiatives from the Ospreys, that will, for example, see 1,000 children participating in coaching clinics during the summer holidays, and follows on from a fundraising partnership with Ty Hafan Children’s Hospice earlier this summer.
Ospreys, Wales and British and Irish Lions wing, Shane Williams, took part in the Rubbish Run alongside Collins. He said:
“I wasn’t sure what to expect when we were told we’d be spending a week collecting rubbish across the region, but it’s been a really good experience and a great way to welcome Jerry to the Ospreys, I hope we’ve been of use to the refuse collectors and that we haven’t slowed them down too much! It’s been a really tough but satisfying morning for everyone - I think there may be a few more yawns than usual in training today.
“As a region, we do enjoy giving something back to the community, as we are very aware that we rely on the loyalty and support of local people, and we’re hoping that this year we can do our fans proud with some impressive results. It would be great to see the Liberty Stadium packed out this season with the home crowd doing their bit all year round.”
Howell Beaton, Waste Manager at Neath Port Talbot Council, said:
"The boys did a great job this morning helping out the refuse collectors around the streets of Baglan. They were enthusiastic and showed some of their fantastic team work. The crew were happy to welcome them and everyone joined in the spirit of the day. Residents were amazed to see some of the best known faces in world rugby emptying their bins and there were lots of requests for pictures with the players."