Ian Gough reckons the Ospreys' pre-season preparations will pay off
Ian Gough reckons the Ospreys' week in France will pay dividends in the new season.
The reigning RaboDirect PRO12 champions have just returned from a week-long training camp in central France, which culminated in a clash with Clermont Auvergne.
The Ospreys slipped to a 49-25 loss but Gough insists the experience, along with the training done, will prove vital when the region kick-off their season against Treviso.
"Training in some really hot weather will benefit us for the first weekend of the Pro12 in Treviso," said Gough.
"Last year we went out there and played in that sort of temperature and it almost caught us out, but we're a bit wiser for the experience now and being in France working hard last week will help us prepare for that in a few weeks' time.
"We're at different stages of our pre-season with the test players coming back later after their trip to Australia so there was an onus on a lot of the young lads to front up against Clermont.
"They were pretty formidable, so it was a big test for the younger members. It's always good to play against the best sides and they definitely were a really good side.
"Did the result matter? Not at all. It's all about conditioning, where you are fitness wise, and about trying things out on the pitch.
"What's most important is how you transfer what you are doing in training into a match environment."
The Liberty Stadium outfit continue their preparations for the new season on Saturday against Bath, where they will reunite with former favourite Paul James.
"Bath are a quality side and are going to offer us different challenges," added Gough.
"It's our first home game which means a lot to the guys, to play in front of our own crowd.
"This type of game is exactly what we need to prepare us for the rigours of the Rabo, and I'd expect that a few more of the Wales guys will come into the equation. It's the next step in our preparation.
"There's competition in the squad, everyone is vying for places to be a part of the team that starts our defence in a couple of weeks and that's always a good thing.
"Paul will have to be shepherded into the away changing room - I don't suppose he's ever seen the inside of it!"
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.