Mike Phillips has committed himself to the Play-Off chasing Ospreys by signing a long-term contract
Phillips returned to the Ospreys lineup last weekend after a long term injury, but his presence was not enough to stop his side going down 33-17 to fellow Play Off chasers Edinburgh.
His side are now in third place, and would face an away tie with Edinburgh at the semi-final stage in May as the Scottish team currently occupy second place on the table.
Phillips will now spend a minimum seven-year spell with his region, after moving to the Liberty Stadium in 2007 from the Cardiff Blues. He has made a significant impact at international level, replacing Dwayne Peel as the first-choice number nine his country.
To date, he has won 38 Wales caps, including a Grand Slam in 2008, and three for the Lions.
Having recently returned from a long-term ankle injury Phillips is in contention to play a part in Wales' trip to face Ireland in their next Six Nations challenge on Saturday. He was rushed back into the international picture for their loss to France after only one half of domestic rugby but remained on the replacements' bench.
He has highlighted his ambitions to keep the Ospreys amongst the elite sides in Europe. He said: "With my future sorted, it means that I can just concentrate now on getting myself up to speed for some of the big games that we've got coming up. We have ambitions to be among the best sides in Europe, we aren't there yet but we are heading in the right direction. With the set-up here, everything is in place to go all the way and I'm excited about the future for the Ospreys. There's a lot of expectations on us, but that's something that we just have to live with."
On a personal note, Phillips cites the next Lions tour, to Australia in 2013, as a major factor in his decision to extend.
"The Ospreys have helped me to develop as a player no end over the last three years, the improvement in my game has allowed me to represent Wales and the Lions while I've been here," he said. "I want to further my international career with Wales over the next few years and get on the next Lions tour, and if I'm going to achieve those longer term aims, then the Ospreys and the coaches here will clearly be a big factor in that, like they have been with everything I've achieved since coming here.
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
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
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'.