Young Osprey Tom Habberfield says he's hoping to use his recent exploits on the international sevens circuit as the springboard to follow in the footsteps of fellow scrumhalf Rhys Webb as he looks to forge a career in professional rugby.
19-year old Habberfield, from Bridgend, is back in Ospreylia after proving quite a hit with the Wales Sevens squad on the first three legs of the current HSBC Sevens World Series during December. The Welsh team secured the Plate in Australia and South Africa with Habberfield, who made his Ospreys debut in the LV= Cup earlier this season, scoring tries in both finals, against Samoa and Fiji respectively.
His focus is now firmly focused on continuing his development as he looks to follow on from a number of young Ospreys who have used sevens as a big development experience.
“It’s been brilliant” he said.
“On the personal side it’s allowed me to visit places I’d never go to if it wasn’t for the sevens, and that’s brilliant, but the rugby experience has been fantastic. I spoke to some of the boys here before I went about sevens and how it can help me. Rhys Webb and Tom Isaacs are World Cup winners. Justin Tipuric has played it as well. They told me how it could help, and what to expect.
“It’s been great for helping me to play with my head up. Playing sevens you’ve got to scan and react quickly, and with so few players you’ve got to make decisions and take responsibility. I think it can really help me kick-on. I can look at players like Rhys in my position, and Justin, and see what they’ve achieved after playing sevens and it makes me want to follow in their footsteps.
“It was a pretty successful few weeks. We won the Plate competition twice and had a fantastic win over Fiji, and I was able to score a few tries. I think I did well, hopefully the coaches agree with me, but I need to use this experience as something to build on now.”
Currently on a one-year development contract with the Ospreys, Habberfield has been playing for Bridgend in the Welsh Premiership this season, in addition to his two regional appearances against Exeter Chiefs and Northampton Saints, and he is eager for more:
“It was a brilliant experience in the LV= Cup, to be able to play for the Ospreys against some top English clubs was great. Playing a full strength Northampton at the Brewery Field was something else, and I’m really enjoying my rugby.
“Like I said, boys like Webby and Justin have shown what can be achieved if you take your opportunity when it comes along. It’s been an unbelievable season for me really, with the sevens and the Ospreys experience. I’d have settled for playing regularly with Bridgend so it’s good to have done more. What I need to do know on keep on working hard and hopefully I’ll get my reward.”