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Ospreys wing Jeff Hassler aiming for another top season

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: August 19, 2014

Ospreys wing Jeff Hassler was a big hit last season.

Ospreys wing Jeff Hassler was a big hit last season.

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JEFF Hassler is aiming to bring his game "to the next level" as he attempts to back up a sensational debut season with the Ospreys.

Signed after impressing for Canada, the wing played his first campaign at regional level last term.

There was little expectation on Hassler's shoulders as he set about adjusting to the step up in standard.

But the 22-year-old defied all expectations, excelling for the Ospreys and ending in the Pro12 team of the year.

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The challenge now for Hassler is to reproduce that form in 2014-15.

And he knows that will not be easy now defenders have had 12 months to work out how to stop him.

"I'm not a new guy in the league any more," he said. "Other teams will watch film of me, so I guess it's just about bringing my game to the next level, bringing a couple of things I didn't do last year in and building up.

"Most people would see me as more of a straight runner, but I sometimes throw a sidestep in during training. Hopefully I can get that into my game next year.

"I definitely didn't expect it to go quite as well as it did. I knew coming in, with the injuries the Ospreys had around the wing, that I'd have a good opportunity, but I didn't expect to get thrown into the mix as early as I did.

"I knew if I did get the opportunity I could have a good season, but at the end I was pleased with things on a personal level.

"I didn't even know there was a team of the year until the lads came in and congratulated me, and even then it took a while for me to realise what a good season I'd had individually because I was always thinking about the team."

Hassler knows he cannot afford to be complacent with a string of players competing for places out wide.

Eli Walker, Hanno Dirksen and Aisea Natoga are among those battling for a starting spot.

"Everyone's come in from the close season healthy so you could choose from six or seven guys on the wing," added Hassler.

"You've just got to have a good performance and follow it up with a good training week.

"As soon as last season was gone I wiped it clean, I went off with Canada, and I haven't really thought about it until this point.

"I'm just excited to get back in the mix and start to play again.

"I just want to be on the field every week — everyone in this environment wants to do that. That's what we're all pushing for."

Stephen Ware / stephen.ware@swwmedia.co.uk / @SWEveningPost

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