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RaboDirect PRO12
Tandy tips Dirksen to fill Shane void
ESPN Staff
May 24, 2012
The Ospreys' Hanno Dirksen braves the elements, Worcester Warriors v Ospreys, Anglo-Welsh Cup, Sixways Stadium, February 4, 2012
Hanno Dirksen has become a crowd favourite at the Liberty Stadium © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Hanno Dirksen | Steve Tandy | Shane Williams
Tournaments/Tours: RaboDirect PRO12
Teams: Ospreys | Wales

Ospreys coach Steve Tandy has tipped Hanno Dirksen to fill the void left by the retiring Shane Williams.

The Ospreys face Leinster on Sunday in the final of the RaboDirect PRO12 and with Williams retiring, the pressure will be on the younger generation in the region to step up. Dirksen has already scooped the PRO12 Try of the Season award but will face one of the biggest challenges of his career when he comes up against the Heineken Cup champions.

However, Tandy believes that Dirksen has the same thrill factor as Williams. "Hanno is great for us. He isn't bothered who he's playing against - he just gives everything," Tandy told Wales Online. "He's come such a long way this season. At the start of, there were so many highlights and signs of what he could be.

"Every week he's been getting better. He's a Shane for us in the way the supporters identify with him. Hanno puts backsides on seats and gives us an identity. It's surprised us how quickly it has happened."

Williams will move into a backroom role at the Ospreys once he has hung up his boots but the former IRB Player of the Year is already making an impact in the development of the next generation.

"The maturity of the senior, core group of players, Six Nations Grand Slam winners, is rubbing off on the younger players," Tandy said. "Shane is a former world player of the year and one of them. When I took over as coach, Shane wasn't playing but he was trying to pass on his knowledge to Eli Walker and Hanno at training. You can't buy that knowledge."

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