Aberavon Head Coach Simon King and Bridgend Backs Coach Craig Warlow have been named as the coaching team that will lead a Regional Select XV into action against the Ospreys.
The duo will work together to prepare a squad of players selected from clubs across the region ahead of the fixture that takes places at Aberavon’s Talbot Athletic Ground on Tuesday 10th August (KO 7pm).
Wales U18 coach King has been in charge at Aberavon since 2007, while former Wales A cap Warlow joined the coaching staff at Bridgend last summer and is part of the new-look coaching team at the Brewery Field for this season led by Ospreys centurion Steve Tandy.
Ospreys Elite Performance Director, Andrew Hore, commented:
“We’re delighted to be able to confirm the coaching team for the Regional Select XV. In Simon King and Craig Warlow, we’ve got an interesting partnership, both at different stages of their own coaching careers.
“Simon has done a great job at Aberavon over the last three years, combined with his role in the national age-grade set-up. He is a very influential figure within the region who is playing a huge part in the development of young rugby players, and he has really bought into what we trying to do here at the Ospreys.
“Craig is just starting off on his coaching career but from what we’ve seen of him at Bridgend, he clearly has a bright future ahead. By involving him in this game, it gives him another stage to show what he can do, and the experience of working alongside Simon will certainly be beneficial to his long-term development.
“The game on August 10th will be a great occasion. We are very aware of our responsibility to rugby in the region, and with more than 80 per cent of our squad coming from the local area, we are extremely proud to represent the local community. Events like this allow us to give something back to the clubs and communities that make up Ospreylia.”
Speaking about the game, which will take the form of four 20-minute periods, King said:
“It’s a good opportunity for everyone involved. The Ospreys will use the game to look at how the players are coming on in pre-season, and to look at some of the youngsters and new players, while for the Regional Select team it gives the boys a chance to play against a quality team and to show what they can do.
“It’s nice to be asked to be involved and I’m looking forward to it. We’ve got two sessions planned with the squad so our preparations ahead of the game will give us some time to work together as a group, which will be important given that we are selecting from six different teams.
“We’ve got quite a lot of strength in depth across the region, with four clubs in the Premiership and some very strong clubs in the divisions below. All the coaches in the Ospreys region are quite fortunate to be honest, and events like this one, which will hopefully attract a big crowd for the night, can only help to strengthen the bonds between the clubs, the communities and the Ospreys.”
“I’m really, really pleased to be involved. The call came as a bit of a bolt out of the blue if I’m honest, but it’s going to be a fantastic experience for the coaches and the players.
“Being involved in this game is a real carrot, it’s a great opportunity for some of the young players to show what they can do on a bigger stage than maybe they are used to, and against tougher opposition. As coaches, it will be our responsibility to give the boys involved a game plan and a strategy, and maybe give some of them we haven’t worked with before something different to think about. It’s not about pressure, there’s no pressure on anyone, it’s a shop window, an opportunity and it’s up to all the players involved to take it with both hands.
“I was excited about the future at Bridgend when it was announced that Steve Tandy was coming on board to work with us, and the conversations I’ve had since then have made me realise how seriously the Ospreys take coach development and how they want to give people opportunities.
“As a coach, it’s another step up the ladder for me and I’m excited about it. Working with Simon King is also going to be a great experience for me, I’m sure that I’m going to get a lot from it. I’d like to think that we’ll be able to put something together over the course of the next couple of weeks that will test the players, and provide a challenge to the Ospreys.”
Admission prices have been kept as low as possible to encourage as many families as possible to come along, with adults paying just £5 (OAP’s and under-16’s £3), with under-11’s getting in free.
The Ospreys Community Rugby team will be in attendance, while the Ospreys rugby themed inflatables will also be at the ground adding to the fun. In addition, members of Taibach RFC’s mini’s section will participate in a tag match on the pitch pre-match.