Marc Breeze is pictured with Danielle Morris from the Port Talbot brance of the Principality.
Aberavon hooker Marc Breeze has revealed how three former Wales hookers have helped to mould him into the latest front row prospect to come out of the WRU Ospreys academy and the Principality Premiership.
Breeze, who has just been handed a two-year professional contract with the Ospreys region, was mentored by Garin Jenkins during his time at the Ospreys academy, and since joining the Ospreys' professional ranks, he has been working closely with Jonathan Humphries, and more recently, Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde has helped improve Breeze's technical throwing game.
Breeze's performances helped Aberavon maintain their third place position in the Principality Premiership table in December, with wins over Ebbw Vale and Swansea and a narrow loss to Neath. He was selected for the Principality award by Premiership head coaches and WRU elite performance staff and will receive a £100 cheque from the Port Talbot branch of the Principality Building Society.
He said: "I've been really lucky in the coaches that have helped me so much in my career already. While I was at the Ospreys academy, Garin Jenkins actually converted me from a flanker to a hooker at the age of 18. I then went on to play for Wales Under 19 and Under 21 and since I've been training with the Ospreys, Jonathan Humphries has obviously had a big influence on me, helping with my fitness, with my open game and has ensured I know what professional rugby is all about. Training with the Ospreys has really brought my game on. Robin McBryde has also helped technically and I'm grateful for that.
"Aberavon have been brilliant too. I'm a local boy and growing up, all I wanted to do was follow in my brother Paul's footsteps and play for Aberavon at every level. With Paul currently playing prop for the club, I now get to play with him week in, week out which is great. It's also been great for my development to get some regular rugby, while featuring for the Ospreys on a few occasions too. Hopefully, if I can keep working hard, those opportunities will arise more often."
Former Wales captain and 35-times capped hooker Jonathan Humphreys, now coach at the Ospreys, believes Breeze has a big future ahead of him. "We identified Marc as an academy player. He is a fantastic potential and is an incredibly diligent learner when asked to work on certain areas of his game. He is also a consistent performer week in, week out for Aberavon so it's no surprise that he's been recognised in this way. If he keeps progressing, he will no doubt be playing regularly for the Ospreys before long - he has a very bright future ahead of him."
Breeze made his Aberavon debut against Llanelli in May 2005 and has already played 75 times for the club and scored ten tries. His family's association with Aberavon Rugby Club goes back to the nineteenth century when Marc's great grandfather Dan Jones played for the club and became was the club's first ever international in 1897, scoring a try at scrum half against England.
Marc Breeze factfile:
DoB: 11.2.87 Birthplace: Cwmafan Club: Aberavon / Ospreys Nickname: Breezy Player most admired: Jonathan Thomas Sportsperson most admired: Lance Armstrong Biggest impact on career: My brother Paul Occupation: rugby player and student - in final year of BSc in Sport Science at Glamorgan University
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.