Young prop turns his hand to age-grade coaching

He may still be a youngster aiming to establish himself in the Ospreys side, but prop Ryan Bevington is already looking to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of Eyasses.

Last season was something of a breakthrough campaign for the 21-year old who made 14 regional appearances in total during the campaign, and as he focuses on building on this during the coming months, he has also taken his first steps on the coach development pathway.

Having already taken his Level One coaching badge while still a teenager, the forward thinking loose-head is now working towards his Level Two qualification while assisting with the coaching of this season’s U18 squad, a role which allows him to feed through the ‘Ospreys way’ to the youngsters coming through the development system at the region.

He explained:

“I enjoy it. It’s like anything, if you’re doing something you love then you want to do it. I’m working with the younger guys, I want to help them learn and develop as much as I can. It’s no different to the way I am myself in training, I want the older players to help me as much as I can, so I’m just doing exactly the same, passing down what experience or knowledge I have.

“Andrew Millward approached me and asked me if I wanted to work with the age-grade set-up while I’m doing my Level Two. The opportunity was there to take it up so it’s good to take it.

“I feedback the same information I receive in training, and it helps me as well. It’s a good way of revising the plays and calls for myself, feeding back to the U16’s.

“It’s good working in that environment. The guys in the squad are pretty much like myself, they are young, they want to learn and they’ll listen when you tell them something. I’m just working on the basic skills with them at the moment, along with Jamie Nutbrown. Ioan Cunningham (Development Office and ‘C’ Group coach) is giving us tasks to work on with the guys, skills that he wants them to learn, or particular weaknesses that they need to strengthen up on, and we’re just taking it from there.

“We are taking the drills that we use in training with the senior group every day and passing them on, helping to ensure that they are learning the Ospreys way.”

Away from coaching and back on the pitch, Bevington made a real impact in an Ospreys shirt last season, with his Heineken Cup debut in Viadana and his first try, against the Dragons, the undoubted highlights. Clearly, having come to the attention of the wider rugby public over the last twelve months, there will be greater expectation on his shoulders this season. He added:

“I had quite a few opportunities last season and I’d like to think I took them as best as I could. I’d hope that I’m going to get a few more opportunities this season, but I’ve set the bar for myself so it’s important that I continue improving and go onwards and upwards I think.

“There’s expectation with everything when you are a professional rugby player. To be fair, I think the biggest expectation comes from myself, I always keep striving to become a better player. Yes, there’ll be external expectation, but I want to achieve more for myself, keep pushing myself every week to become a better player.”

With four Welsh international props at the region, Bevington is well aware of the challenge that lies ahead if he is to establish himself as a regular in an Ospreys shirt, but he says it’s the way it should be:

“It’s like any team, you’ve got to earn the right to have the jersey” he said. “You can’t expect to just be given it. In every position in this team you’ve got quality players so anyone who wants to get into the starting fifteen knows what the challenge is. I just want to put pressure on the players in front of me. They are good mates, but sport is competitive, and they will feel exactly the same way about it, they won’t want to give the shirt up to me, they will be fighting to keep hold of it.

“There’ll be time for everyone to play with so many games. International games will provide chances, and I’ve got to take every opportunity I get.”