Having watched his Aberavon midfield partner Ashley Beck make a huge impact in an Ospreys shirt last season, 20-year old centre Ben John is hoping to become the next local youngster to make the breakthrough with the region.
The former Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr pupil signed his first professional contract earlier this year having come through the regional player development pathway, catching the eye with 23 appearances for the Wizards in the Premiership and making his first Ospreys start in the narrow defeat at the hands of Newcastle in last season’s LV= Cup. Now, with the boost of a three-year deal, John says he is looking to continue his development throughout 2011/12.
“It’s a big season for me and hopefully I can make my mark” he said.
“I’m targeting getting more appearances in the Pro 12 and the LV= Cup, and if I get the chance then I have to take it. I’m really looking forward to the start of the season.
“It’s a big boost for me knowing the confidence that the coaches have in me. By giving me a contract it shows that they think I have the potential to develop so you have to take confidence from that.”
John had hoped to travel to Italy this summer to participate in the Junior World Championship with Wales U20 having featured in the 2010 competition in Argentina but was forced to miss out due to a wrist injury. However, he insists that it’s what lies in store for him that is the most important factor:
“I was really disappointed about that but I wanted to sort my wrist out. I was thinking about the future, not the present. I’m fortunate enough to have been to one Junior World Cup so it’s not as though I missed my only chance.
“The future is more important, I wanted to sort myself out so that I could get a whole pre-season in with the Ospreys, get used to things and make sure I understand all the calls and moves, so that if I get the call in the early part of the season I can be ready.”
Now firmly back on the way to full fitness John is enjoying training with the senior Ospreys squad as they prepare for the forthcoming campaign. He explained:
“It is getting better, I’ve started to do weights again and I’ve just done the first contact session today. It went well, I feel good. I’m really enjoying myself at the moment, there’s a good bunch of boys in the group and it’s going well.
“I just want to collect as much experience as I can this year and hopefully I can build on what I’ve achieved with the Ospreys so far, getting some more game time along the way.”