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'.
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.
UEFA has today confirmed the Football Association of Wales (FAW) has been successful in its bid for the Millennium Stadium to host the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final on Saturday 3rd June, 2017 (kick-off: 19.45hrs GMT).
The winners of a filmmaking competition organised by the education charity Into Film and the WRU enjoyed a behind the scenes tour of the Millennium Stadium - and a chance to be photographed with the WRU's fire-breathing, rugby loving mascot, Scorch The Dragon, and Welsh international, Jake Ball.
The Wales Under 20 camp are in a quietly confident mood as they face Ireland in the U20 Championship, with Coaching Co-Ordinator Allan Lewis and full back Dafydd Howells targeting a top five finish in the tournament.