Dan Griffiths will take charge of the Ospreys sevens team for the forthcoming Premiership Rugby 7s Welsh leg at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, assisted by Welsh international Ashley Beck.
The young coaching team has been working with the players in recent weeks to identify a squad that will be confirmed early next week, with preparations stepping up several gears ahead of the event on Saturday 26th July which kicks off this summer’s series.
It’s the first time that the four Welsh regions have competed in the series, with the two teams who finish top of the pile after an evening of fast-moving sevens action going through to the final at Twickenham Stoop on Friday, August 8.
For Griffiths, who oversees the Ospreys age-grade programme at Llandarcy in his day-to-day role of Elite Youth Performance Manager as well as shadowing Backs Coach Gruff Rees, it is a case of stepping up to the Head Coach role to gain valuable experience in the competition. In Beck’s case, the centre is currently doing his coaching badges and he will use this opportunity for his personal development while continuing his rehabilitation following surgery earlier this summer.
Griffiths explained that the experience will be beneficial to both he and his assistant:
“This is a great opportunity for the two of us to prepare for a specific tournament and lead the team right the way through from selection to the matchday itself. It’s a new experience for us both, but one that we’re excited about.
“There’s a lot of sevens talent in the group and we are just nailing down the final selection before really focussing on the event next week. Sevens has proven to be a great development tool with a number of our players having represented Wales in sevens on their way to establishing themselves both with the Ospreys and national set-up.
“Whatever the competition, the Ospreys attitude is to go into it wanting to win and this is no different. Whoever pulls on the jersey knows that they have a lot to live up to and they will be expected to perform to the standard expected of an Osprey. It’s going to be an interesting evening.”
For Beck, being on the coaching side of things at the Ospreys as opposed to playing is proving to be a valuable eye opener:
“It’s good to have an insight into all the work and preparation that goes in to getting a team onto the pitch, I’m having to work 9 to 5 for a change” he laughed.
“Having something like this to focus on while I’m recovering from surgery is fantastic and it’s really helping me to appreciate the technical side of rugby a lot better. I’m doing my badges, I’ve helped coach Neath Schools in the Dewar Shield, but this is another step up for me and I’m grateful that I’ve been given this opportunity.
“Being on the other side of the fence does seem a bit strange but the whole experience will really help me, not just with my coaching development but also in terms of how I read the game when I’m fit and back playing again.
“Sevens rugby is a tough environment, with no hiding place on the pitch, and a quick turnaround that means you are tested as players and coaches in a pressurised environment. I’ve no doubt it’ll be fantastic fun in the stands for those supporters enjoying the games over a few beers with their mates, but it’s a real challenge for us as coaches and players.”
According to Rugby General Manager, Andrew Millward, the two young coaches will benefit from the experience of leading the Ospreys into action:
“Dan is an up and coming young coach who is already an influential figure within the Ospreys development pathway from his regular role with our age-grade players. He has stepped up to work within the senior environment, particularly during LV= Cup periods, and this is a great opportunity for him to lead an Ospreys team into senior competitive action.
“Ashley is someone who has been around our environment for many years now despite still only being 24. He’s fast approaching his 100th cap, is 7th in the all-time try scoring list, and is the youngest ever Osprey. This is about the other side of the game for him, as an aspiring young coach, to gain some invaluable experience of working with senior players as a coach.
“The Ospreys are all about development from within, and this is a great example of us doing just that. Both Dan and Ashley will get huge benefit from this experience that will help their personal and professional development.”
The action gets underway on the 26th at 7.15pm with the Ospreys v Cardiff Blues the first game on the night.
Game 1 Ospreys v Cardiff Blues
Game 2 Newport Gwent Dragons v Scarlets
Game 3 Newport Gwent Dragons v Ospreys
Game 4 Cardiff Blues v Scarlets
Game 5 Ospreys v Scarlets
Game 6 Newport Gwent Dragons v Cardiff Blues
Season members receive a whopping 50 per cent discount, and can buy adult tickets for just £5 for seated and £4 for standing - just quote your membership number at the time of purchase. Concessions tickets for members are £3 for seated and £2 for standing. Standard adult prices are £10 for seated and £8 for standing. Concessions will be £5 for seating and £4 for standing.
Tickets are only currently available via the Ticket Office at Cardiff Blues on 02920 302030, online here or visit in person during office hours.