Currently in Samoa preparing for the forthcoming Rugby World Cup, George Stowers says he already feels at home in Ospreylia after visiting Swansea for a look around the region earlier this year.
The powerful back-rower has signed a two year deal with the Ospreys and will link up with his new team-mates in the autumn, but having already tasted the Liberty Stadium atmosphere with previous club London Irish, and enjoying a whistle-stop tour of the region with his wife in the spring, he is looking forward to finally making his long awaited move.
“I visited Swansea for a day and must say that I felt right at home” he said.
“Although I've been to Swansea when Liberty Stadium hosted London Irish for the Heineken Cup matches the visit was very brief and I didn't get a chance to see and appreciate Swansea. The scenery is just fantastic and I just know that when I look at the coast and the water, it will be just like home. I've been told that Swansea is beautiful in the summer, so my wife and I are very much looking forward to it and also making Swansea our new home.”
Having tasted defeat in the game at the Liberty Stadium last October, Stowers played an influential role in an Irish win at the Madejski Stadium in January of this year to finish the Ospreys hopes of progressing to the last eight in the Heineken Cup, a result that ended a long losing run for the Exiles, and one that Stowers believes was down to his team’s “commitment and desperation” to win. He explained:
“London Irish was on a losing streak - not having won 10 games prior to facing Ospreys - so when we won against Ospreys in that game it became a memorable day given that we needed a big win to boost our morale and to ensure our supporters that all was not lost for London Irish.
“I recalled my thoughts before that game, that Ospreys had come to Madejski with sheer determination to win to put them ahead in our Heineken Cup pool. Their sheer determination was met with London Irish's severe commitment & desperation to overcome the Ospreys in that game. And we did! Spirits soared again after that win and it just gave us at London Irish an opportunity to be on top of our game.”
The Samoan squad are still enjoying the glory of last month’s historic 32-23 win over Australia in Sydney, and Stowers agrees that the victory has given them a huge boost, with just days to go until the Rugby World Cup gets underway in New Zealand. He said:
“Yes definitely, it has given the team more confidence and self-belief in ourselves that we can perform well in the World Cup and beat any team on the day.Personally, the win was rewarding, a fulfillment of so many expectations, dreams and aspirations that I have had for myself and I must say that it was the 'best' win so far in a Manu Samoa jersey!
“Preparations for the World Cup are going really well. Everyone is working extremely hard and there is a lot of commitment and determination from the players eager to be part of Samoa's squad.
“It's going to be a tough pool, they don't call it the 'pool of death' for no reason. At this point, all the teams in Samoa's pool are training hard & determined to top our pool. Having said that, we are eager for the challenge & we will be prepared for it.”
At the World Cup, Stowers will again find himself coming up against a number of Ospreys players, when Samoa face Wales in Hamilton on 18th September and he admits it’s going to be an interesting challenge:
“I'm looking forward to the challenge especially playing against my Ospreys teammates. It’s an honour and privilege when one is called to play for their national countries, which makes the game special. After all our commitments to our national countries are fulfilled, we’ll go back to Swansea and share a few laughs, pat each other on the back and be a part of a special camaraderie on and off the field.”
Talking about going back to Swansea, Stowers said he is excited about the move and joining a team that he knows has a proud, if short history.
“I’m very much looking forward to, and excited about, joining with Ospreys after the World Cup. I know that Ospreys is a well-respected team in Europe, they won the Magners League title two years ago and have produced some of the finest and most exceptional players for Wales.
“In Samoa, it's publicly known that I'm with Ospreys club and it’s exciting for me that I'm promoting Ospreys. I've heard many positive things about Ospreys and with outstanding coaching, management and facilities, I’m eager and excited to be part of a well structured and ambitious set-up at Ospreys.”
Stowers will arrive at the region promising fans that they will see nothing less than maximum effort from him, combined with a wealth of experience, as he explained:
“What the fans can expect from me is my 110 per cent commitment to Ospreys. They can expect that I will represent the club to the best of my ability and wear the Ospreys jersey with great pride, enthusiasm and respect.
“Having said that, I bring to the team a wealth of experience in playing at the highest level of club rugby, such as the Premiership & Heineken Cup competitions as well as at the international level playing for, and representing my own country, Samoa, where determination, commitment, self-belief and having the right mental attitude won us the day, especially our recent historic win in Sydney.”