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."
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.