The Neath-Swansea Ospreys today announced they had reached an agreement with Welsh international and Ospreys second-row Gareth Llewellyn, to allow him to explore new career options by signing on to the transfer list.
Llewellyn is Wales' most capped forward with 83 caps, seven of which were earned as captain of the Welsh team. He played over 300 games for Neath before joining the Ospreys and captained Neath for a record 7 seasons from his debut at the club as a 19 year old in the 1988/89 season.
It is unlikely that, with Six Nations training set to start soon, Llewellyn will be making any decisions soon on the new direction he wants to take, but it is understood this will involve remaining as an active player of rugby for the foreseeable future.
In other news, the Ospreys also announced today they are releasing flanker Gavin Thomas onto the transfer market, as the club begins a process of redefining its squad ahead of next season.
Speaking today Ospreys joint managing director, Roger Blyth, said:
"The club had reached agreement with Gareth Llewellyn to allow him to explore new career opportunities. I think given the commitment he has given to Wales, the Ospreys and before that Neath, it is only right and proper that we give him every assistance as he decides what course he now wants his career to take. There will be no hasty decisions and the important thing is that Gareth is given every respect, the room and the time to make the choices he now wants to make."
"We have also taken the difficult decision to release Gavin Thomas onto the transfer list which, despite a good win on Saturday, signals the beginning of tough choices we are now taking in a process which amounts to a redefining of the squad. This is a programme that will continueuntil the
end of the season and we expect to considerably modify and strengthen the squad in a process that will not just be about playing ability but about cultural fit too."
"The style of rugby the Ospreys can and have delivered, and want to continue delivering, is fast, open and attractive - a style of rugby that not only wins games but does so in a gripping way. This is what we are striving for and the full weight of the Ospreys management team and board will be behind
Lyn Jones as the necessary changes are now made to keep the team moving forwards to achieve these goals."
Speaking on Gareth Llewellyn, Ospreys joint managing director Mike Cuddy said:
"Gareth has been an exceptional servant of Welsh rugby throughout his career, which has seen him receive more Welsh caps than any other second row before him. We are grateful to him for his effort not only at the Ospreys but for his tremendous input at Neath RFC before that, where he captained the team over so many seasons. I know everyone at the Ospreys and supporters old and new will throw their weight behind Gareth as he considers the direction he now wishes his career to take."
The on and off-field benefits of schools and colleges employing a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub initiative continue to grow with the publication of the first half term figures of the current academic year.
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The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia