Hanno Dirksen is staying with the Ospreys until at least 2017
The Ospreys have received a huge boost for next season after star wing Hanno Dirksen committed his future to the region.
The 23-year-old, who has been tipped for a Wales call in the near future, has signed a new three-year deal to stay at the Liberty Stadium.
Dirksen may have had two knee operations last season and spent a year on the sidelines with cartilage damage but he was the Ospreys' top try scorer in the 2011/12 campaign and the region believe his best is most definitely yet to come.
"It's fantastic news that we have been able to secure Hanno and ensure he remains in this environment for the next three years," said rugby operations manager Andy Lloyd.
"He's had a difficult time with injury and we have had to manage him on a daily basis since he returned to playing, but he is someone who can really establish himself at the top end of the game over the next three years.
"He is still only 23 so, although he has already gained a considerable amount of top-level experience, his best days are very much ahead of him, something that is true about a number of players in our squad.
"He has a real physicality, a forceful nature to his game, and a go-forward attitude that can be crucial to how we want to play the game.
"There are areas of his game where he needs to work hard, but that is where his time out has been very helpful towards his development as it's allowed him to educate himself more behind the scenes, and to understand the game in a different way. I think that will help him become a more mature, rounded player over time and that is a prospect that genuinely excites me and should excite all Ospreys supporters."
Dirksen is the 13th player to re-sign with the Ospreys in recent weeks as Steve Tandy and co continue to build a squad determined to add to their record-breaking tally of four RaboDirect PRO12 titles and challenge in the new European Rugby Champions Cup next season.
The South African-born flyer joins Alun Wyn Jones, Sam Lewis, Ashley Beck, Eli Walker, Jonathan Spratt, Ben John, Ryan Bevington, Dmitri Arhip, Nicky Smith, Dan Baker, Dan Suter and Lloyd Peers in agreeing a new deal, while Josh Matavesi, Rynier Bernardo, Dan Evans, Sam Parry and Gareth Thomas are all joining the region from elsewhere.
"The region has been very good to me: it's where I've developed as a rugby player and is home for me, which makes it even more special to stay here," said Dirksen, who has scored 15 tries in 56 appearances for the Ospreys.
"I haven't had much game time this year because of a long injury, but I'm back playing again and I just want to be on the field with the jersey on as much as I can to make up for missing so much rugby.
"It's the last game of the season on Saturday, so it's important I finish well, work hard over the summer and then come back for pre-season to hopefully get back to where I was before the injury."
Before joining the Ospreys, Dirksen scored 21 tries in 22 games for Swansea, having previously starred for Neath Port Talbot College and Cornish college Truro.
Although he hails from Krugersdorp in South Africa, he moved to the United States in 2006 and represented America at age-grade level and in an uncapped match against Munster in 2008.
Dirksen qualified to play for Wales through residency grounds in January and has previously stated that pulling on the red jersey would be 'amazing' and 'one of the best things ever'.
Llandovery are aiming to make it three titles in a row in this year's Foster's National 7s being held at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 28 August. Drovers assistant coach Simon Davies and Lee Rees assess their sides chances
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series returns to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on July 22nd when all four Welsh regions go head to head. Scarlets skills coach Dai Flanagan and Blues Elite Performance Pathway Manager Richard Hodges along with current Welsh squad members were at the launch of this season's event
GB7s women left their England base to train in Wales this week. Olympic Games hopeful Rachael Burford gives WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie her thoughts on Welsh teammate Jasmine Joyce - a 'one touch wonder'
The GB7s women's squad is currently training at Wales' Centre of Excellence where assistant coach Richie Pugh tells WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie some 'tough calls' will have to be made when it comes to finalising the 12 spots for Rio's Olympic Games.