'Richard Hibbard can put his Wales nightmare behind him'
RICHARD Hibbard will recover from the double setback that rocked his Australia tour with Wales.
So says his forwards coach at the Ospreys, Jonathan Humphreys, after the hooker endured a traumatic final week of the trip Down Under.
Hibbard was players' player of the season at the Liberty, but his campaign ended on a crushing low when he gave away two late penalties that the Wallabies used to secure a dramatic 20-19 victory.
Making matters worse, he was then the only player axed for the third Test as the Wales management kept faith with the other 21 players in the matchday squad.
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But Humphreys has since spoken to Hibbard and expressed the view that he would regain his position in the Wales pecking order if his regional form is good enough.
"If Hibbs plays as he did in the second half of last season then it will be difficult for Wales to overlook him," said Humphreys. He played a big role in the region winning the Pro12 title.
"He was carrying a shoulder injury, yet his ball-carrying and scrummaging were excellent and his line-out throwing was good as well.
"It takes all sorts to make up a squad and we like Hibbs because he does what it says on the tin.
"He's a huge part of our squad and a player can't be judged on barely a minute's play. He is desperate to play for Wales and was just trying to do what he could. I've done it myself. You have to put it behind you and move on. No way should the final minute in Melbourne cast a shadow over the outstanding season Hibbs had."
The Ospreys' coaches have returned to work to start preparing for the new season, with the region's inter- nationals having four weeks off after their exertions in Australia.
"We're looking forward to getting the squad back together again," added Humphreys. "It was a great finish to the season, but the challenge is to start afresh and make sure we are successful again next term."