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
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.
The top three teams of the Principality Premiership put their unbeaten runs on the line this weekend. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespies is joined by South Wales Argus rugby writer Chris Kirwan to discuss the weekend's action
Geraint John has taken up the new role of WRU elite coach development manager having arrived in Wales last week. WRU TV caught up with him at the WRU rugby department's strategy day at the Millennium Stadium.
The entire Welsh Rugby Union Rugby Department gathered at the Millennium Stadium earlier this week where WRU Head of Rugby Josh Lewsey looked back on a year where structural and strategic changes have seen significant progress made
Tomorrow will see the first six-point try scored in the northern hemisphere when the Principality Premiership kicks off. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie catches up with WRU National match Officials Manager Nigel Whitehouse, and Pontypridd winger Alex Webber as they look ahead to the innovative changes.
The annual Women's club launch was held at the Wales Centre of Excellence where National Women's Head Coach and Programme Lead Rhys Edwards, Competition Secretary Adrian Howell and Cardiff Met player Ffion Jones express eagerness for the new campaign to get under way.
Plenty of award winners in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast.Dragons centre Tyler Morgan wins one of the top awards for up and coming talent with the SportingWales Rising Stars 2015 award. Scarlets and Wales outside half Hannah Jones is one of the runners-up. We also he from community clubs as the season approaches and Principality Premiership unsung hero Ron Taylor of Ebbw Vale.
Actor and Millennium Stadium Tour Guide Gareth Bale has been performing his one-man play about Wales rugby legend Ray Gravell across Wales. He chats to WRU TV before taking his show to the Edinburgh Festival.
After widespread consultation, the WRU has made major changes to its pathway programme for girls rugby with a spring and summer season being introduced with immediate effect in order to respond to a clear demand to play the game.
The Webb Ellis Cup visited Lampeter on Monday to recognise the fact that the town is celebrating a major milestone as it is believed the first ever game of rugby played in Wales, was in fact played in Lampeter 150 years ago.
We cover the big news the 2017 Champions League Final will be coming to the Millennium Stadium, in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford, First Minister Carwyn Jones and WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis. Wales coach Warren Gatland describes their high altitude training in Switzerland, national match officials manager Nigel Whitehouse talks about the community coaches and referees conference, while we have a special feature on Cardiff Blues U18 girls sevens squad preparing for their first Gemau Cymru, with some help from internationals Elinor Snowsill and Philippa Tuttiett.
Cardiff Blues U18 Girls will go into Sunday's Gemau Cymru with an extra spring in their step after Welsh internationals Elinor Snowsill and Philippa Tuttiett offered some last minute tips at a training session earlier this week.
Rob Howley and Josh Lewsey addressed more than 250 community club coaches and referees at the first WRU National Community Conference on the weekend. The volunteers benefitted from coaching masterclasses and workshops in a bid to connect all levels of the rugby pathway in Wales.
Following the success of the inaugural All Schools Touch Championships (ASTC) held in July 2015, a new partnership has been announced with the Wales Touch Association to ensure that pupils throughout Wales are able to play in high-quality Touch events.