Prop Cai Griffiths became the latest Ospreys centurion last weekend when he came on as a second half replacement for Adam Jones at Rodney Parade.
Bangor born Griffiths, 27, joined team-mate Nikki Walker in making his landmark 100th regional appearance at the game, eight years after he joined the Ospreys from Caernarfon RFC ahead of the first ever season of regional rugby.
He made his debut as a replacement in a 35-21 away defeat to Leinster in September of that year, with his 50 coming up at the same ground as his century, Rodney Parade, back in May 2008.
Speaking after his 100th appearance, Cai said:
“It’s an awesome achievement, isn’t it? I’ve taken a bit of time to get there, but I’ve got my 100 now and I’m really happy about that. Getting to 50 was something special, reaching 100 caps for a team like the Ospreys is something else again, which not many players have got to do. There’s some special people, great players and fantastic Ospreys in the list of people who have played 100 times for the region so to be up there with them is unbelievable.
“There are lots of international front row players at the Ospreys, a British Lions tighthead, so it’s not easy getting into the 23. I’ve been here right from the start of the region, I’ve been plodding away towards the 100 for some time so to finally get there – it’s something I’m really proud of.”
Forwards Coach, Jonathan Humphreys, paid tribute to Griffiths’ professionalism after he completed his ton, saying:
“Cai is another of our ‘originals’ who has gone on to reach 100 appearances for us. He’s probably not one of the most well known players in the squad but he’s really come on this year, he’s scrummaging as well as he ever has, and he’s an important member of our squad. I’m delighted for him that he has reached this milestone.
“It’s difficult for him in the shadows of so many international players, it’s very competitive in the front row at the Ospreys, so it can be hard for players like Cai to establish themselves in the team. But saying that, he is one of our best professionals, he is diligent in his preparation, works very hard, is always looking to improve his own game and will no doubt be thoroughly pleased to have reached his century for the Ospreys.”
Cai will now be hoping to be involved on Saturday when the Ospreys entertain Munster at the Liberty Stadium in a game that he says they can’t afford to lose:
“It’s a must win game for us at the weekend now, after we slipped up at the Dragons. As a squad we have to put that right, we’ve got a few things that we have to work on from Friday night ahead of playing Munster on Saturday.
“This time last year was when we really kicked on as a team with a good run at the end of the season, winning three games in Ireland on the way to the title. We will need something like that again this year, starting with Saturday against Munster. It won’t be easy but there’ll be no second chances if we don’t hit the right level of performance this weekend, and we need everyone to be on top form, on and off the pitch, including our supporters.”