Ryan Bevington and Justin Tipuric will become the latest players to reach a century of Ospreys appearances this weekend when they line-up at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
The pair, both graduates of the regional development pathway, will hit the landmark together in the crunch PRO12 clash against leaders Munster.
Bevington made his debut on the final day of the 07/08 season, away to Connacht, while Tipuric’s first Ospreys appearance came in an LV= Cup game against Northampton Saints at the Liberty Stadium in November 2009.
The pair take the total number of players to complete a century for the Ospreys to 25 since former skipper Barry Williams became the first in September 2007, just four years after the inception of the region.
“I’ve been here since I was 15 and it’s the only place I want to be” said Bevington.
“It’s taken a year longer than it should have because of injury so I’m just really happy to get there in the end. There’s a lot of competition for places here, and the front row has always been like that, so I know I have to work hard just to stay in contention. To reach 100 is something that I’m really proud of and, hopefully, I’ll be able to make many more appearances.”
“As a local boy playing for the Ospreys was always the goal as a youngster so it’s unbelievable to think that Saturday will be my 100th game for my home region. I think everybody knows how proud I am of my roots, and I was delighted to be able to sign a new contract a few months ago. I realise that there are some great players who have played 100 times or more for the Ospreys, so I’m just honoured to be able to get to the century.
“It’s a big game on Saturday against the league leaders so what’s most important, as far as I’m concerned, is that we get the performance we need and the right reward. That’s what matters most, not me getting to 100 games."
Andrew Millward, Rugby General Manager, paid tribute to the pair ahead of the game, saying:
“To achieve 100 games for one team is an achievement that any player should be proud of. For Justin and Ryan, as local boys who have come through the development pathway via age-grade and Premiership rugby to represent their home region, it is all the more special.
“It’s a particularly significant occasion for Ryan after having to wait so long to get there off the back of a year out injured. He’s somebody with so much potential in his game, as strange as that sounds for a player getting to a hundred games. He has the right attitude, wants to improve, wants to be a better player and is prepared to work hard to achieve his goals.
“There’s a lot of competition at loose head now. Nicky Smith has come through while Ryan has been out, and we have Paul James coming back to the region, as well as players like Marc and Gareth Thomas who have really stepped up because of injuries. It’s great to have someone like Ryan back on the field at last, and he’ll really treasure this achievement while identifying that he has to work hard to hit and maintain the standards expected. I’ve no doubt he’ll rise to that challenge.
“Again, Justin is a local boy who is immensely proud to represent his home region so I know that he’ll be delighted to reach 100 games for the Ospreys.
“He’s still growing in stature off the field in terms of his leadership skills, and he is someone who works tirelessly for the cause. We were able to secure his services for another three seasons just before Christmas, which was a huge boost for us and says something about where we want to take this group. As he continues to grow and develop, he will only become a bigger influence on our environment.
“Both of them are players who still have their best years ahead of them, so we look forward to seeing them in an Ospreys shirt for many more games in the seasons to come.”