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!"
Wales and Ospreys back row James King, who came through the North Wales age grade system, nominated North Wales Regional Community Rugby Manager Marc Roberts, in the WRU's 'Diolch' initiative where squad players thanked those who played a part in their rise to the top.
Beating Merthyr has boosted Carmarthen Quins hopes of reaching a top eight spot in the Principality Premiership. Quins captain Haydn Pugh is delighted with his team's progress and is determined that everyone from the Under 6s through to the senior team, enjoys the ride.
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series