The Ospreys have signed Welsh international hooker Mefin Davies on a two-year deal with the region.
Capped 39 times by his country, the vastly experienced Davies will rejoin the Ospreys, for whom he played six times during the 2004/05 season, at the end of the current campaign.
Davies has been in outstanding form for Leicester Tigers in the Guinness Premiership this season, proving to be an influential figure for the league leaders. In total, he has made 51 appearances for the Tigers since signing in 2007, scoring two tries, and won the 2009 Premiership title. Prior to moving to Welford Road, he spent two seasons at Gloucester.
Davies came to prominence in the mid nineties with Dunvant, before moving on to Neath and then Pontypridd. At the onset of regional rugby he represented Celtic Warriors, before switching to the fledgling Ospreys at the start of 2004/05. His international debut came on the 2002 summer tour to South Africa, with the undoubted highlight of his career coming in 2005 when he featured in every game of Wales' historic Grand Slam campaign.
Speaking about the move to the Ospreys today, Davies said: "I'm coming home to Wales and I'm really looking forward to it. The possibility of a move to the Ospreys caused long discussions with my family, and we just feel that it's a great opportunity that has come at the right time for me.
"I've had a good spell at Leicester and I've really enjoyed my rugby, particularly this season so I'll have mixed emotions about moving on. We've been doing well and I've been playing regularly, starting games, and between now and the end of the season I want to go out on a high before making the move back to Wales.
"All my best work has been done over the years when I've been working with young guys who are keen to learn, and I've no doubt that there will be plenty of opportunities for me to help with player development while I'm here. It's great to work with someone with real potential and to help them develop, to realise that potential."
Ospreys Elite Performance Director, Andrew Hore, explained the reasoning behind the region's move for Davies: "Mefin is still performing at the highest level week-in, week-out and will be an asset to the Ospreys on the pitch. More importantly though, as a region that believes strongly in the development of Welsh talent, we see the biggest advantage of him being here is that he is coming to assist in the development of others.
"We see Mef' as having some exceptional strengths that will assist in the long-term development of some of the young front row players that we have here. He is extremely well known, and highly regarded, in professional rugby circles for the passion he has for the set-piece, and for his ability to bring out the best in those around him. Because he is so passionate about it, that enthusiasm lifts others."
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.