Adam Beard started the season missing out on Wales selection but finished it as a British and Irish Lions Test player and number 852 of the most exclusive club in world rugby.
The Ospreys lock’s journey started with Birchgrove and has taken in Aberavon, Ospreys Academy, Ospreys, and Wales and culminated with a Lions Test cap against South Africa this summer.
The Welsh international is the 16th Ospreys to have reached the pinnacle for every British and Irish rugby player – playing for the Lions.
🦁 A Lions test debut for Adam Beard and a 12th consecutive @lionsofficial test for Alun Wyn Jones🙌— Ospreys (@ospreys) August 9, 2021
Can't wait to welcome you both home!
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The big second row, a mainstay and vital player in the Ospreys squad, crossed for a try against the Stormers that led to him featuring for the Lions in the Third Test against the Springboks.
He is now back home and focused on the Ospreys campaign in the new United Rugby Championship and on the challenge of Heineken Champions Cup rugby this season.
Beard, 25, admits his achievements last season haven’t really sunk in but in typical fashion he makes a point of paying tribute to all of those who have helped him throughout his career.
“The Lions is very special and something you dream of growing up and I don’t think it has sunk in that I am part of that unique club,” said Beard.
“It was a really special moment for myself and my family, and something I am extremely proud of.
“I can’t thank everyone who has been involved throughout my career enough. That’s my family, through school and the clubs and it’s just a massive ‘thank you’ to everyone and what they have done for me to get me here.
“It’s a proud moment to represent everyone and to share those achievements with them.
“It’s a massive honour to represent the British and Irish Lions but also to represent the Ospreys and Wales. There are legends that have played for the Lions and it’s a real accolade to share with the players who have gone before me.
“Normally you play against the Lions players in the Six Nations, in European games or the league and normally you want to take their heads off and get the upper hand but that’s what makes a Lions tour so special.
“You have to come together and bond quickly as a squad to get the unity. It is surprise when you are on tour that you meet these guys and they are really good men. That’s what makes the Lions very special.
“I don’t normally score tries and that was a weird situation for myself, I just saw the gap and just went for it and lucky enough I scored the try. Alun Wyn gave me a big hug after the game and said ‘fair play, helluva try’.
“It was a mad season, starting with Covid and the challenges of that. Then there was not being picked for the Autumn squad for Wales and that was very disappointing.
“I have to thank the coaches and the players at the Ospreys for getting me back on track and giving me the confidence to get back out there and to get my performances back on track.
“Then I was picked for the Six Nations squad, we had a successful campaign and then there was the initially disappointment of not being selected for the Lions and then getting the call to join the tour.
“So, it was an up and down season but one that has benefited me and will see me in good stead going forward.
“This season with the Ospreys is massively exciting, we have a good squad with a mix of young guys coming through, pushing for places, and we have senior players who are world class players.
‘We have something special building here and being back in the Heineken Champions Cup will only be beneficial for the Ospreys. The coaches have put us in a good position but it’s about us pushing forward again.
“The URC with the South African teams coming will be great for everyone – the players, coaches and supporters – to play against these sides at Swansea. Com Stadium.
“These are awesome South African sides we will be playing and it will be a real challenge and we are looking forward to it.”