Jonathan Spratt will lead the Ospreys out as captain tomorrow when make his 50th for the region in the LV= Cup game against Exeter Chiefs in the LV=Cup.
A product of the development pathway at the region, it’s now more than seven years since he made his debut for the Ospreys in a 25-20 loss to Munster at Thomond Park in November 2006.
Having spent a considerable time sidelined with injury during 2011 and 2012, and also spending a season up the M4 at London Irish, the 50 cap mark for his home region has been a long time coming, but Spratt says he’s honoured to reach it. He said:
"It's taken a while for me to make 50 appearances but I'm really glad to finally get there. Being born in Neath and getting to play for Neath and then the Ospreys is a dream come true and to make it to 50 appearances for the region is something I'm really proud of. Getting to 50 games is the real achievement to me so getting the captaincy is just an added bonus.”
At the ripe old age of 27, Spratt is very much the experienced figure in the line-up for Saturday’s game, but he says he’s looking forward to doing battle with the Aviva Premiership outfit.
“We've got a lot of new faces in the team and we've had a really good week of preparation and training leading up to it so hopefully we'll be all set up for the game” said Spratt.
“We know what Exeter have to offer, they're a seasoned Premiership team having been there for a good few years now. As with any Premiership side we know we'll face a good defensive outfit; well drilled, big scrum, competitive line out, so we know we're going to have to get our basics done first in preparation and look to try and exploit them in some way.
“Exeter have got good strength in depth so it will be a good test for some of our younger players and a chance to put their hands up and show their commitment to playing in the Ospreys jersey. These games are such a great opportunity for the young boys to come from whatever club they've come from, be it Neath, Aberavon, Bridgend or Swansea, and gives them a taste of what it's like to play at a regional level and see what's expected of them.
“Yes, it’s a young team that will take the field down there but they are keen to learn, that’s for sure. The boys coming through have strong characters, which means we have a bright future.
“Our build up this week has been fantastic and we've shown some good promise so hopefully we can all carry that forward to Saturday and really express it. A great team performance in Exeter would definitely be the best way to celebrate my 50th appearance.”