A party of 56 from the Ospreys travelled to Browns Sports and Leisure Club, Vilamoura on the Portugese Algarve coast, for an intense period of activity in preparation for the new season.
Speaking about the focus of the camp, head coach Allen Clarke said: “We came here to bond as a group and it’s been great for both staff and players to mix, get to know each other, and to spend time together. Obviously, the main focus being our rugby, but more so than that, to enjoy each other’s company in a very high-pressure environment.”
As the temperature reached more than 32 degrees in the Algarve, the squad were put through their paces in vigorous training sessions as well as putting in the hard graft at the gym.
Clarke added: “The boys have been excellent, we’re really pleased with the quality of the work and the attitude of the players. Its been full on, from early mornings to late evening but its been a fantastic environment and the facilities to train in are second to none.”
Established in 2000, Browns Sports and Leisure Club was designed and constructed to provide excellent training, accommodation and support conditions to all athletes from grass root teams to national professional teams in a safe and secure yet relaxed environment.
The Ospreys follow in the footsteps of clubs like Saracens, Gloucester, Bath, Ulster and Clermont Auvergne, as well as the English and Irish national squads, in spending time at Browns.
“Everything is on site meaning you can get good quality work done followed by good quality recovery”added Clarke: “All in all, its been absolutely fantastic.”
Joining the squad out in Portugal, was newly appointed Shaun Edwards who linked up with the squad and coaching team after being confirmed in a consultancy role with the region just last week.
Speaking of Edwards addition, Clarke praised the new coaching set-up: “I think the boys themselves will tell you what he’s already brought to the team this week. His level of experience and his CV speak for itself, but you can see that he’s driven, he’s in the moment and he’s focusing in on the defence. Shaun and Brad Davis have worked brilliantly together, along with Matt Sherratt who has bonded really well with the boys and got his principles across.”
Looking ahead to the new season, Clarke said: “We recognise we haven’t kicked a ball in anger yet, but certainly we’re getting the impression that we’re getting close to it. We face Saracens on this week which is our last test leading into that Edinburgh game, so we’re really looking to see the work that we’ve done here coming to the fore on Thursday and in particular the following Friday against Edinburgh.”