Steve Tandy says that going to “one of the toughest places in European rugby” on Friday night will provide the Ospreys with an opportunity to see how they are developing ahead of the new season.
Leicester Tigers welcome the region to their Welford Road home in what will be the final pre-season warm-up fixture for Tandy’s team and the Head Coach says it is the next step in their preparations for next week’s Guinness PRO12 opener against Zebre at the Liberty Stadium.
Reflecting on the progress made over the summer, and on last week’s training camp in Belgium, Tandy said:
“We had a great week out in Belgium. Being together in camp allowed us to get some really valuable work done, with some long training days for the entire group to get some quality work under their belt and a hit out on the Friday night for some of the younger boys and the more experienced players who needed some time on the pitch. In terms of a pre-season week away, we couldn’t have asked for more.
“Friday night is the next step for us, going to one of the toughest places in European rugby, it’s an environment that will always test any team and, pre-season or not, they are proud of their record there so will want to make sure their fans go home happy.
“We’ve worked on a lot of different things this summer, put in some building blocks for the new season, and this is another opportunity to see how we are developing with not just next week and Zebre at the Liberty in mind, but the season as a whole.”
Tandy added that increasing competition for places can drive the Ospreys on for the forthcoming challenges:
“We are reintegrating players into training each week, but what is clear is that nobody can expect to walk straight into the changing room and pick the shirt up. There are boys who are stepping up and looking to take the opportunity they’ve been given and it makes things interesting when someone really grabs that chance. Playing quality opposition in a tough environment will give us a chance to see how far we’ve come and how much the boys have taken on board, and is an important part of our preparation.
“It’s a long season and we need the squad to really push each other from day one if we are going to achieve what we want. The effort, the attitude and the application has been there all summer, it will be there on Friday night, and then we can’t wait to get stuck into the PRO12 campaign next week.“