This season the Ospreys added another dimension to their already successful region. They have introduced two age grade women's teams at under 15 and 18 level.
This is a first for the Ospreys along with Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons, Scarlets and North Wales.
The season kicked off last Sunday at Llandovery R.F.C. where all the teams apart from North Wales attended a regional tournament. The day was very successful with a lot of playing talent on display. The Wales Women U20 management team were in attendance to view the young women and were impressed with all the teams at both U15 and U18 age grades.
Ceri Wyatt Osprey U18 Coach commented.
"The conception of these teams shows the commitment that the Union and regions have in developing the women's game in Wales. With a successful senior national side that are currently No. 2 in Europe these regional squads will bolster the system and start to provide players of a high standard to the national set up. With robust procedures in place to continually develop players and coaches at both regional and national levels, women's rugby in Wales is going from strength to strength. "
U18 Tournament Report
The Young Osprey Women U18's started their season undefeated in the regional tournament held last Sunday with a draw against the Blues and wins against the Dragons and Scarlets.
The first match was against the Cardiff Blues who didn't have much to offer behind a big pack that dominated the set piece. The forward orientated rugby that the Blues tried to play was nullified by the Ospreys and their ferocious defence with some big tackles being made by Carys Phillips. The Scrum improved in the second half with Bethan Edwards standing her ground at tight head. The Ospreys turned the Blues over on numerous occasions at the breakdown with Alex Stokes at No. 8 looking very strong. The backs moved the ball well, but they couldn't find a way to cross the line. The hard fought game ended scoreless with both sides disappointed in the stale mate.
The second match saw the Dragons enter the Ospreys sights, the game was expansive with the Dragons centre partnership proving to be quite a force but with the Ospreys defence working well they failed to break through. The Dragons then tried to move the ball out wide but were met by Rosie Fletcher who had a sterling performance on the wing. The Ospreys looked sharp in attack with captain Jessica Smith controlling operations at Fly Half. The Ospreys backs coach Paul Morgan was particularly impressed with the back line and their ability to move the ball efficiently. The two teams played with width but Ospreys scrum half Natalie Watkins kept the opposition on their toes with sniping runs around the fringes which paid off making her the first try scorer for the region. The match ended 5-0 to the Ospreys and their first win.
The third and final match saw the Scarlets take the field. This was a fast game with both sides playing a high standard of rugby. The Ospreys fitness level was good and paid off with the back-row, Lowri Morgan, Kathryn Joseph and Alex Stokes linking well with the backs. This together with direct running from Full Back Rhianydd Morgan and Carys Phillips in the Centre saw well deserved tries for Kathryn Joseph at open-side flanker and Jessica Smith at Fly Half. The match had to be stopped in the second half with Ospreys Second Row and vice captain Kirsty Morgan sustaining an injury and needing the air ambulance to take her to hospital. This was unfortunate for the Ospreys as Kirsty had been competing well all day in the lineout. The match continued and saw the Ospreys gain their second win at 10-0 making them the tournament winners.
Coach Ceri Wyatt was extremely pleased with the day's proceedings and his side's performance. "The biggest thing for me today was our defence, to play three games and not concede any points is a great achievement. I was particularly happy with the way we kept our shape and with the big tackles being made this allowed us to dominate the contact area and turn over the ball on numerous occasions. We have a mobile pack and they linked well with our backs who provided lots of go forward."
He went on to say, "I was really impressed with the standard of rugby played by all the teams at the tournament. Now the regions have been set up and there is a focus on women's elite rugby this can only improve the standard of the young players we have in Wales and this will of course be of great benefit to our national age grade and senior squads."
The Ospreys Women's Age Grade Teams will be playing the other four regions this year and will start by hosting the Cardiff Blues. Both the Under 15's and U18's will be kicking off at 2.30pm in Tonmawr R.F.C on Sunday 19th October. With the high standard of rugby being played it should prove to be an exciting afternoon of rugby. Come and support the two teams and help them to become the most successful region in Wales.