It’s been a frustrating wait for Ben John but the returning Ospreys centre admits he needs to make the most of his return to the first-team in the LV= Cup.
John has fallen victim to a couple of injuries over the last year and was loaned out to Newport Gwent Dragons earlier this campaign in a bid to build up game time.
But now the 23-year-old’s back at the Liberty Stadium, as the Ospreys look to salvage some pride in the LV= Cup after two losses from two.
Last time out the Liberty was far from a fortress as the Dragons won 51-35 in a high-octane thriller, but John says his side are set on not giving Gloucester Rugby an inch at Kingsholm.
“I’m really looking forward to it, it’s been a long time and I want to put the shirt on again,” he said.
“My brother was telling me it’s been 12 months since I’ve played a competitive game for Ospreys, and I didn’t know that at all.
“It’s been really frustrating but hopefully I’ll get to keep the shirt. The plan is to have a couple of good games, push on and have the opportunity to play in the Pro 12.
“Gloucester are going to be a typical English side, direct, hard and a big pack with quick backs. It’s going to be a tough challenge but we’re all going to be up for it.
“It’s a chance to put the record straight after the last two defeats, we’re treating it like any other game because to get into the Ospreys side is so competitive as it is. It’ll be a big one.”
Gloucester have strung together some form of late, beating Exeter Chiefs and Saracens in Aviva Premiership Rugby before wrapping up their pool in the European Rugby Challenge Cup.
Their LV= Cup record needs rectifying, however – having suffered a cruel last-gasp loss to Exeter in the opening round – and centre Billy Meakes is keen to keep the feel-good factor going.
“We haven’t seen too much of them but they are very upfront and physical. If we can match them up front then we will have a good shot at getting it out wide and hurting them,” Meakes said.
“We are both sending out young teams. It will be a good opportunity to get a shot. It would take a pretty bizarre turn of events for us to get in that semi-final but we will give it a go.
“We will be looking at two wins at home, then straight back into the Premiership.
“We knew from the start that it was a tough pool. Our game at Exeter went right down to the wire and it proved to be costly.”
Tickets for this year's LV= Cup Final on 22 March at Franklin's Gardens are now on sale. Click here to snap one up from just £20 for adults, £10 for juniors to see who will win the first silverware of the season.