The stellar rise of Ospreys duo Ashley Beck and Rhys Webb may have caught many people on the hop but head coach Sean Holley says their progress has come as no surprise to anyone inside the Liberty Stadium.
Inside-centre Beck and scrum-half Webb stole the show in the 27-3 demolition of Heineken Cup champions Leinster in the opening round of the RaboDirect Pro12.
Whereas once the Ospreys would have had British & Irish Lions filling the No.9 and 12 shirts, now they are making a conscious decision to put their trust in the next generation.
And Holley is delighted that his faith is being vindicated by the performances in pre-season and against Leinster.
“They are developing all the way,” he said. “You talk about people like Ashley Beck and he have been around the environment for a number of years so [his performance] is no real surprise to us but it is a process they have to go through.
“There has to be an element of earning the right to wear the jersey. Those guys up first stood up pretty well.
“There were times last year they were first choice last season so I think both of those guys are maturing and now they are realising what it takes to be selected. It’s good news the penny is dropping.
“They have worked hard to improve their games but we are not getting carried away – these guys have been in our environment for a while.
“That’s what we want is an evolution and a natural selection as they come through.”
There’s an even younger generation bubbling underneath the likes of 22-year-old Webb and 21-year-old Beck with teenager Matthew Morgan impressing when he came off the bench.
“People like Matthew and some of the other younger boys are developing by just being in the environment,” he added.
“They are out there training with the experienced boys and getting development that way. I gave them ten-fifteen minutes at the weekend and coming on in that sort of atmosphere and intensity of the game is good development for them.”