Alun Wyn Jones is backing the Osrpeys' youngsters to come good
Wales lynch-pin Alun Wyn Jones is relishing the chance to be a part of Steve Tandy's Ospreys revolution. And the British & Irish Lions star is backing the new-look region to improve on last year's fifth placed Guinness PRO12 finish and break into play-off contention.
They must mount a challenge without the international experience of Ryan Jones, Richard Hibbard, Ian Evans and Adam Jones, who have all headed for the exit door at the Liberty Stadium. But the 29-year-old lock reckons the team spirit instilled by Tandy will help the region's youngsters excel on the big stage.
He said: "We're relying on the youth and team ethic we have and that's what we have to do with the changing landscape in rugby. We've always relied on individuals and the big names that we had that have now moved on.
"We can't afford to do that now. I feel like a constant in the Ospreys jersey and I was encouraged by Steve Tandy's plans for the region moving forward."
The four-time champions kick-off the new campaign at home to Benetton Treviso on Friday night. And new recruits Rynier Bernardo, Josh Matevesi, Martin Roberts, Cai Griffiths, Dan Evans and Sam Parry will be looking to get off to a flying start against the Italians.
Tandy has seen 16 up-and-coming youngsters commit their futures to the region and Jones reckons the local talent can push for a place in Wales' World Cup squad come next summer.
He said: "Wales can still compete on the World stage - hopefully there will be fresh blood putting pressure on established players like myself. Nicky Smith and Eli Walker have been great in the Under-20s jersey and impressive when they have been in the team for a run of games.
"We've still got Justin Tipuric, Dan Biggar and other impressive guys coming through the ranks like Dan Baker."
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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