Beck told: go out and be the boss
ASHLEY Beck will face Ulster in Swansea tonight (6.30) with the Ospreys' coaches telling him it's time to boss games for the full 80 minutes.
The most creative centre in Wales underlined his class in Treviso last week by making light of appalling conditions to repeatedly trouble the home defence.
The regions' backs beat 20 defenders between them, with Beck gliding past four on his own and also making one clean break.
But the Ospreys believe he has the ability to do even more.
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They reckon the gifted playmaker could take his game to new heights if he learned to stamp his authority more on matches.
"There are still times when Ashley can be a bit passive," said assistant coach Gruff Rees.
"It's great to see him do his stuff, but I want to see more of it. I want to see him constantly in the game, non-stop and never being satisfied. We want him to be engaged all the time.
"He needs to take ownership of a full 80 or 90 minutes of a match and not just settle for odd glimpses.
"He knows that. It's something we speak about because he is one of the most talented kids I have ever worked with from a young age."
Beck's form last term was impressive enough to earn him a Wales call-up for the summer tour of Australia. He won three caps Down Under, starting in the final two Tests, and can expect to be marked more closely in the months ahead, but the Ospreys are unworried about the 22-year-old falling victim to second-season syndrome.
"I think he will build on last term," said Rees. "He's a level-headed kid who's always looking at what he can do better.
"He has that relationship with us as coaches and he wants to push his game on.
"He's had a whiff of the international scene and he wants to push on from where he was in Australia and hammer home his credentials as an international player.
"But he knows it starts at the Ospreys. As a local boy, he is keen to represent the club and he wants to do well for the players around him."
The Ospreys have made four changes from the side beaten in Treviso, with Rhys Webb and Matthew Morgan coming in for Kahn Fotuali'i and Dan Biggar, Ian Gough replacing Ian Evans at lock and Justin Tipuric featuring ahead of Sam Lewis at openside flanker.
Morgan's inclusion at fly-half has come about as coaches aim to give all their half-backs early-season opportunities.
Ulster have won three of their last four encounters against regional teams but have lost on their last four visits to Wales.
Ospreys: R. Fussell; H. Dirksen, A. Bishop, A. Beck, T. Isaacs; M. Morgan, R. Webb; R. Bevington, R. Hibbard, A. Jarvis, I. Gough, A. W. Jones (capt), J. King, J. Thomas, J. Tipuric.