By Tom Prosser
Ospreys forward Adam Beard tested himself against South Africa whilst on British & Irish Lions duty this summer, but he is now looking forward to taking on The Sharks for his region this evening (Friday).
The Ospreys are unbeaten so far this season after claiming wins against The Dragons and Cardiff Rugby, but The Sharks are still searching for their first victory in United Rugby Championship.
“The South Africans come with a good set piece, but they also have some dangerous backs who like to have a go and play from anywhere,” explained Beard.
“We know what to expect. Our set-piece has gone pretty well so far and it’s about continuing on that process and putting a marker down.
“We like to pride ourselves on drive and drive defence and also our scrum dominance.
“It will be a good test at the weekend but something as a pack of forwards we will be looking forward to.”
The 25-year-old is also pleased about the fresh atmosphere around the new league and is delighted that the fans are now back supporting their team.
“Yes it has been awesome especially being back at the Liberty (Swansea.com Stadium) with fans has been amazing. I can’t remember seeing the Liberty like that for so long.
“The atmosphere was amazing down there and in and around the squad with the coaches and new signings we have had coming in we have got something special coming in with the Ospreys.”
It’s fair to say that it has been a whirlwind of a summer for Beard who was called up as a late replacement to the Lions squad to replace Alun Wyn Jones who was initially ruled out of the tour after getting injured against Japan at Murrayfield.
“Oh my God, it was absolutely crazy. It was carnage. That’s the word for it,” said Beard.
“It was a bit of a weird season in general.
“It started off with disappointment with not getting selected for Wales but then I had a really positive impact with the Ospreys moving forwards and I ended up getting back in the Wales squad and having a really good Six Nations.
“I had an initial email from the Lions so I thought to myself ‘It could be this year.’
“I then had the initial disappointment of not being picked, so I had a week of camp in north Wales, coming back to watch the Lions game with Japan, and seeing Al go down.
“I was disappointed at first but then I got a phone call that Saturday night and I met up with the squad the next day.
“It was the craziest 12 hours of my rugby career to date.”
The moment Beard finally answered the phone to accept the call-up was also an eventful moment.
“First of all I had three missed calls off Gats (Warren Gatland) and Thumper (Alan Phillips),” laughs Beard.
“When I finally answered my phone it was off Prav the physio.
“It was funny because they said ‘Have you been ignoring our calls?’ I said ‘No I haven’t, I swear.’
“I met with Navs (Josh Navidi) at the Vale the next morning and packed my boots and a bit of kit. As soon as I met the squad the day after in Edinburgh I had everything chucked at me – kit and suits. It was a whirlwind.”
Beard feels he gained a lot from his experience with the Lions and is now hoping to show what he learnt with both the Ospreys and Wales.
“It was great out there and see how other second-row and players go about their business.
“It was good to learn off players like Maro Itoje and Iain Henderson and I already have Alun Wyn.
“It was good to see little details around the lineout and how they go about prepping for stuff like that.
“When you go out there you see how professional these players are and it’s good to learn from people from other countries.
“You know about the Welsh boys with the regions and international camps but it’s good to see a little insight from other players.”