Ospreys coach Sean Holley has paid tribute to one of the unsung heroes of the region’s recent Magners League triumph.
The Liberty Stadium outfit became the first side to claim a hat-trick of Celtic crowns when they saw off table toppers Leinster in Dublin at the end of May.
Much has been made of the star names within the Ospreys set up over recent years, with the likes of James Hook, Shane Williams, Ryan Jones, Tommy Bowe, Mike Phillips and Lee Byrne all receiving plenty of rave reviews, but Holley is keen to praise one of the lesser known members of his starting XV.
Outside centre Andrew Bishop has become a key member of the Ospreys line up, acting as the glue that links Phillips and Dan Biggar with Hook, Williams, Byrne and Bowe.
The 24-year-old was outstanding against Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy during the 17-12 win at the RDS, with his fine midfield break setting up Bowe for the crucial opening score.
And while Bishop himself prefers to fly below the radar, Holley believes it is about time the Llantristant-born quiet man got the credit he deserves.
“The thing with Andrew is that he’s not a fashionable player,” said Holley.
“He’s not somebody who everybody says, ‘wow, look at him’.
“He hasn’t got the touches, he doesn’t wear the fake tan, he doesn’t talk much, he’s from up the valley’s and he’s a tough kid – I’ve got a soft spot for him because of that.
“He’s not flash, but he’s showed that he’s not just a defensive centre; he’s a ball carrier, he can beat people and he can make tries.
“Wales have identified that now and, from our point of view, in trying to nurture and develop players for the national team, it’s a massive, massive plus.”