Second row Lloyd Peers will lead the Ospreys into Guinness PRO12 action this weekend after being handed the captaincy for the opening game of the new season, against Treviso at the Liberty on Friday.
It’s a big occasion for the 23-year old graduate of the Ospreys’ development pathway, as it will be the first time he has skippered the region at PRO12 level, after leading the team at age-grade and in the LV= Cup, as well as captaining Wales at age-grade level.
Peers, who signed a new three-year contract earlier this year, has got the nod ahead of a number of more experienced players who have led the team at various stages, and Peers said he was honoured to have been given the role.
“It’s a huge honour for me to be able to lead my home region out at the Liberty for the first PRO12 game of the season” he admitted.
“I’m excited enough to be fully fit and back playing again after I missed the end of last season with injury, but to have this extra honour is brilliant for me personally.
“It’s a completely new experience for me as I’ve got some experience as a captain, but to have this opportunity at this level is something different. It’s really exciting and I’m really looking forward to the game on Friday night and the challenge of leading the Ospreys in front of our fans at the Liberty.
“There is plenty of experience in the team and it’s important that I use them properly and tap into that experience. It’s important for any team to be successful that there isn’t just one leader on the field and we’re fortunate at the Ospreys that there are plenty of leaders in the squad that I can turn to for assistance. Yes, I’ll be speaking to the ref and making decisions on the field, but I’ll have people like Andrew Bishop, Dan Biggar, Joe Bearman, there are a lot of people I can lean on around me.
“Alun Wyn has given me a lot of help as well, particularly over the pre-season, so hopefully this bodes well for me and I’ll have a good season, play well and stay injury free.”
Head Coach, Steve Tandy, said that Peers was a natural leader despite his youth:
“He is a great professional, someone who leads from the front in everything he does and says it as it is. He may be a young man but he is comfortable to voice his opinions even in more senior company and is never afraid to challenge others or, importantly, to be challenged himself. That’s very important in our environment.
“He has the respect of the group, sets very high standards and is a good communicator. The captaincy is very well deserved. We’ve seen Lloyd come through the age-grade system, we've seen his leadership skills and his diligence, and he's got the character to stand up and be counted. He will make an excellent Ospreys captain.”
Looking ahead to Friday night’s opener and the challenges that lie ahead for the region between now and May, Peers said that the team were keen get off to a flying start:
“We’ve looked back at the pre-season games and while we are disappointed about the scoreboard we have picked the performances apart and, even if it was a long way from where we want to be, there was a lot of good stuff as well. It’s easy to reflect on the score but we’ve broken it down well beyond that, identified what we did well and what didn’t work.
“In April, nobody remembers what you did in pre-season, so it’s important we learn from the games and not just talk about it, so that come April we can be in a good place. It starts on Friday night and it’s important for us to put on a good performance at the Liberty, for our fans and for ourselves. It’s the first game of the season, the first time at our home ground since May, and hopefully we can make it a great occasion in front of a big crowd.”
Tickets for Friday night’s game against Benetton Treviso, which kicks off at 7.35pm, are available to buy now from the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, online at www.ospreysrugby,com/buytickets and from the Ticket Hotline on 0844 815 6665 with adult tickets costing either £20 or £25.