Tandy praises squad depth

Date published: October 11 2016

Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy believes he has blooded enough youngsters to cover for their spate of injuries.

The Welsh region get their Challenge Cup pool campaign underway with a meeting with Newcastle at the Liberty Stadium on Friday as they play in the competition for the first time.

Tandy's men have won four of their first six games in the PRO12 and will be looking to carry on their positive start into European action.

Injuries to Canadian duo Jeff Hassler and Tyler Ardron mean they face extended spells on the sidelines, and Tandy admits he feels for the pair having endured injury-hit campaigns last season.

But the former flanker believes there is enough depth in his squad, having blooded several young players in recent seasons, to cope with their absence and the demands of competing for silverware on two fronts.

"I think this is probably the most depth we have had during my time at head coach … There was a bit of pain for us last season, and believe me it hurt me, but we have had some benefits out of the injury problems we had last season," Tandy told epcrugby.com.

"You look through our squad and there are now a lot of young guys with the experience to step up and do what is required of them because the opportunities they were given mean they know the level that is required.

"Guys like Rory Thornton, Dafydd Howells and Sam Davies have really benefited from that game time. Sam Davies had a difficult start to last season but you look at how he has blossomed.

"That has helped us make a good start to the season and we certainly want to keep that momentum going."