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."
Porthcawl recently received a WRU facilities grant and funding from Natwest RugbyForce in order to give their changing rooms a facelift. This came after receiving £10,000 in a WRU facilities grant last year to tarmac their car park. The improvements have already helped to make the club more accessible, not only for their own members and players but for the whole community.
The Welsh Rugby Union has launched a new, accredited Safeguarding and Protecting Children course - funded by the WRU and delivered in partnership with Sport Wales and the NSPCC - fo rugby club volunteers around Wales.
The SWALEC semi-final draws threw up some mouth-watering clashes in the Cup, Plate and Bowl as the 12 teams aim for the Millennium Stadium Finals Day. All the semi-finals are to be played on the weekend of April 12.
Welsh whistler Rhys Thomas continues to scale the heights of the game as he prepares to be an official in this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens tournament, undoubtedly the showpiece event on the World Series calendar.
Wales International Ian Evans and Wales and Lions legend Scott Quinnell swapped rugby balls for paint pots at Tonna during the RBS 6 Nations. They surprised club players with a special clubhouse makeover to launch NatWest RugbyForce 2014 - a programme developed in partnership with the WRU to make rugby clubs stronger businesses by improving and renovating their facilities with the support of volunteers and the local community.
Fresh from claiming the Bowl honours in Tokyo last Sunday, the Wales Sevens squad have settled into their routine as they prepare for this weekend's Hong Kong tournament where Iolo Evans is aiming high, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
The Welsh Rugby Union has recently teamed up with Prostate Cymru to help the charity launch its latest campaign to raise awareness of the disease. Members of the Wales squad helped produce a short video and promotional material for the campaign titled 'The Best Defence - is to know the FACTS'.