Lion praises Ospreys’ depth

Lions wing Tommy Bowe has described the strength in depth at the Ospreys as 'ridiculous'. [more]

Lion praises Ospreys’ depth

Lions wing Tommy Bowe has described the strength in depth at the Ospreys as ‘ridiculous’.

The 2009 Test Lion, who was named Magners Players’ Player of the Year last week, believes the Liberty Stadium outfit now have the strongest squad in the region’s history.

Director of coaching Scott Johnson and head coach Sean Holley can call upon a remarkable 23 Welsh internationals, plus one each from Ireland and Scotland and two former All Blacks when selecting their matchday squad.

Throw in a total of eight Lions and the Ospreys can clearly lay claim to a multitude of talent.

And despite picking up both the Irish and Welsh Professional Players awards last season, Bowe insists that even a player of his stature cannot take his place in the starting line up for granted.

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“I don’t think there is anyone in this squad who feels his place is safe and secure,” Bowe, who played all three Tests for the Lions against the Springboks last summer, told walesonline.

”And I mean from our new skipper Alun Wyn Jones, through James Hook and Lee Byrne, Adam Jones and Shane Williams, down to Mike Phillips and me.

”It is ridiculous the strength in depth we have here.

“In my case I already have Shane (Williams) and Nikki Walker to battle with for a place on the wing, and now they’ve brought in Richard Fussell from the Dragons. Then you have the youngsters coming through like Tom Prydie, Kristian Phillips and Eli Walker.

“These guys are literally flying about the place and I’m just trying to keep up with them.

“We have a good bunch of players and we are trying to build something very special here. With all the young players coming through the Academy ranks you have to be special to be picked for the Ospreys – and that makes it very special to get into the side.”

The Ospreys begin the defence of their Magners League crown at Ulster on Friday night but Bowe is unlikely to feature.

With the World Cup now on the horizon, the native Ulsterman has a long season ahead of him and he is understandably determined to be in top condition before he plays his first game of the new campaign.

“I want to get a bit more of a pre-season under me before I start playing again, but I could be back for the Aironi match (on September 25),” added Bowe.

”I want to be in peak condition before I start my season because it is going to be a very long 15 months with the Rugby World Cup looming in the background.“

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