Gruff Rees reckons Ashley Beck can continue to improve at the Ospreys
The Ospreys are confident Ashley Beck can handle the pressure of being a marked man.
Beck enjoyed a stellar season at the Liberty Stadium as the Ospreys marched to the RaboDirect PRO12 title. He was rewarded with a place on Wales' tour to Australia and featured in all three Tests.
Defences will be clued up on the former Aberavon man following his rapid rise but the Ospreys reckon he will remain a handful.
"We were delighted with Ashley last season and we expect him to go from strength to strength," Ospreys backs coach Gruff Rees told the South Wales Evening Post.
"If people pay him extra attention that will free up space for others around him.
"If anything, Ash will be better for having stepped onto the international stage. "Everything is faster in Test rugby and players have less time to think and execute their plays. You learn to adapt and think quicker. More often than not, you become a better player."
Beck has become a vital figure at the Ospreys, with his creativity a major ingredient in last season's success.
He filled the void left by James Hook last year and there will be an even greater onus on him to provide a spark in the new campaign,
"We have seen some world-class players depart over the past two years," said Rees.
"But there is still an unbelievable cream of talent behind the scrum. What we have to do is use people where they are most effective.
"So someone like Hanno Dirksen is best deployed in a roaming role, so he can follow the ball and play off guys like Ashley and Dan."
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.
Dodgy tattoos, carthorses, Avatar and soft chins are revealed by Wales Sevens players Tom Williams and Sam Cross as they profile the Wales Sevens squad taking part in Hong Kong this weekend in the latest round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.