Marc Breeze is pictured with Danielle Morris from the Port Talbot brance of the Principality.
Aberavon hooker Marc Breeze has revealed how three former Wales hookers have helped to mould him into the latest front row prospect to come out of the WRU Ospreys academy and the Principality Premiership.
Breeze, who has just been handed a two-year professional contract with the Ospreys region, was mentored by Garin Jenkins during his time at the Ospreys academy, and since joining the Ospreys' professional ranks, he has been working closely with Jonathan Humphries, and more recently, Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde has helped improve Breeze's technical throwing game.
Breeze's performances helped Aberavon maintain their third place position in the Principality Premiership table in December, with wins over Ebbw Vale and Swansea and a narrow loss to Neath. He was selected for the Principality award by Premiership head coaches and WRU elite performance staff and will receive a £100 cheque from the Port Talbot branch of the Principality Building Society.
He said: "I've been really lucky in the coaches that have helped me so much in my career already. While I was at the Ospreys academy, Garin Jenkins actually converted me from a flanker to a hooker at the age of 18. I then went on to play for Wales Under 19 and Under 21 and since I've been training with the Ospreys, Jonathan Humphries has obviously had a big influence on me, helping with my fitness, with my open game and has ensured I know what professional rugby is all about. Training with the Ospreys has really brought my game on. Robin McBryde has also helped technically and I'm grateful for that.
"Aberavon have been brilliant too. I'm a local boy and growing up, all I wanted to do was follow in my brother Paul's footsteps and play for Aberavon at every level. With Paul currently playing prop for the club, I now get to play with him week in, week out which is great. It's also been great for my development to get some regular rugby, while featuring for the Ospreys on a few occasions too. Hopefully, if I can keep working hard, those opportunities will arise more often."
Former Wales captain and 35-times capped hooker Jonathan Humphreys, now coach at the Ospreys, believes Breeze has a big future ahead of him. "We identified Marc as an academy player. He is a fantastic potential and is an incredibly diligent learner when asked to work on certain areas of his game. He is also a consistent performer week in, week out for Aberavon so it's no surprise that he's been recognised in this way. If he keeps progressing, he will no doubt be playing regularly for the Ospreys before long - he has a very bright future ahead of him."
Breeze made his Aberavon debut against Llanelli in May 2005 and has already played 75 times for the club and scored ten tries. His family's association with Aberavon Rugby Club goes back to the nineteenth century when Marc's great grandfather Dan Jones played for the club and became was the club's first ever international in 1897, scoring a try at scrum half against England.
Marc Breeze factfile:
DoB: 11.2.87 Birthplace: Cwmafan Club: Aberavon / Ospreys Nickname: Breezy Player most admired: Jonathan Thomas Sportsperson most admired: Lance Armstrong Biggest impact on career: My brother Paul Occupation: rugby player and student - in final year of BSc in Sport Science at Glamorgan University
After a lengthy and successful playing career with the Scarlets, RGC 1404 forwards coach Phil John is rapidly making a name for himself as a coach in north Wales. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie hears how his fledging career in the hot seat is going and discovers a man on a mission.
Bedwas had to overcome a stubborn Carmarthen Quins side before winning the Foster's Challenge Cup final in Bridgend with a 23-18 victory. Bedwas captain Nicky Griffiths pays tribute to his side who have claimed the club's first piece of silverware in the modern era.
Team coach Brett Davey is aiming to keep his unbeaten run in cup finals at Principality Stadium intact when his side take on Amman United in the WRU Bowl final, after he guided Caerphilly to a 20-14 win against Cilfynydd in the semi-finals.
Penallta are hoping to go one step further than last season when falling to Bedlinog in the WRU Plate Final. After a titanic struggle against Nant Conwy, they have given themselves a great chance, after a hard fought 18-13 semi-final victory.
School club hub officers in schools throughout Wales are enriching lives by helping pupils to engage more with their education, their community and improve their own outlook on life and future prospects by improving confidence and developing skills such as leadership.
Equal access to facilities and resources at St Helen's has seen Swansea Women flourish since being welcomed with open arms last July. Swansea RFC chairman Stephen Hughes and women's captain Siwan Lillicrap are delighted to see rapid progress being made on and off the pitch.
It's back to the Principality Premiership for our top clubs this weekend. This week GTFM's Ioan Dyer takes his Pontypridd hat off - temporarily at least - and looks ahead to the programme with WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie
This week, Wales squad players Sam Warburton, Jonathan Davies and Ken Owens took time out to support Operation Net Safe, a joint initiative by the four Welsh police forces to tackle child sexual abuse. The forces are working with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, the only UK-wide child protection charity dedicated solely to reducing the risk of children being sexually abused, on a campaign called Stop it Now!
Ospreys and Wales duo Rhys Webb and Scott Baldwin return to their home town club Bridgend Ravens as they prepare for life after their rugby playing careers by undertaking their coaching badges at the Principality Premiership outfit.
The Urdd were unveiled as the WRU's national schools sevens partner at Pencoed yesterday. A flagship event for the new partnership will be the Urdd WRU 7s at Pencoed held over three days on April 4, 5, 6.
The second phase of the Principality Premiership kicked off last week with the introduction of two tiers. In this week's podcast Aberavon No 8 Chris Davies tells WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie he's had to change his game while Cross Keys head coach Greg Woods says his side still have plenty to aim for.
Aberavon moved to within a point of table-topping Merthyr in Tier 1 of the Principality Premiership to add even further spice to their trip to The Wern this weekend with a 24-21 win at Carmarthen Quins.