The Ospreys today confirmed the signing of Welsh tighthead prop Ross Davies from Sale Sharks.
The 25 year-old former Wales age-grade international has signed a three year deal with the region and will join up with the squad when they report back for pre-season at the end of June.
Previously capped by Wales at schools level and U19, he was a part of the Welsh U21 side that did the Grand Slam in 2005 alongside current Ospreys Andrew Bishop, Alun Wyn Jones, Ian Evans and Tom Smith.
Davies came through the ranks at Newbridge RFC, before moving to the Galwegians club in Galway, where he also played for Connacht 'A' on a number of occasions. He returned to Wales in the summer of 2007 to sign for Neath, spending just one season there before moving to Sale Sharks. With two first team appearances for Sale to his credit, including a debut against Cardiff Blues in the EDF Energy Cup in October, he made an emergency loan switch to Worcester Warriors in April, making his debut against Harlequins in the Guinness Premiership.
Speaking after signing for the Ospreys, Davies said: "Signing for the Ospreys is an excellent move for me personally and professionally, and I'm really looking forward to pre-season and a new challenge. All the way through my career so far I've always looked to experience new things and new ways of playing, to play in different environments and to try different cultures. In 2005 I made the decision to go out to Ireland, to get away from where I had grown up playing rugby, with the aim of developing myself and it was a brilliant experience, I really enjoyed my two years there.
"Having been back in Wales for a season, I then had the chance to play in England with Sale, and again, like with my time in Ireland, I feel that I've grown as a person and a player for the experience. In my year playing in England I've played in the EDF Energy Cup and the Guinness Premiership, and I've learnt so much about my game from going up against the likes of Andrew Sheridan and Lionel Faure in training every day.
"I've had a great twelve months, but I'm excited about coming back to play rugby in Wales again with the Ospreys, I realise that playing over the border I may have dropped off the radar a little. I know that I face a real challenge to establish myself at the Ospreys with some really good tightheads already in the squad including a likely Lions starter but it's an exciting prospect. I want to learn from the likes of Adam Jones to become an even better player, and if I can go onto achieve half of what he has in an Ospreys shirt then I will be happy."
Andrew Hore, Ospreys Elite Performance Director, added: "The signing of Ross Davies is a significant one for the Ospreys, increasing our strength in depth at tighthead and ensuring we have adequate coverage in the position. With Craig Mitchell's recent elevation to the Wales squad and Cai Griffiths' excellent performances towards the end of the season, not to mention the considerable presence of Adam Jones, we will have real competition for this position next season.
"As an Under-21 Grand Slam winner, Ross has outstanding potential and the ability to lock out a scrum and we are excited about him being part of the squad working with our coaching team to help him realise this potential. Importantly, our signing of Ross means that we are bringing Welsh talent back home, allowing him to play his rugby in Wales.
"We are attempting to deliver sustainable success on and off the pitch, and a significant part of this is the identification of young Welsh talent and then providing them with a strong support structure to help them fulfil their potential."
WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips hosted the second meeting of the WRU Youth Board last weekend ahead of the Judgement Day IV regional double-header. Tthe board, made up of 15 under-21-year-olds from around Wales, heard presentations from head of participation Ryan Jones, policy and integrity manager Jeremy Rogers and national women's rugby manager Caroline Spanton, with Pro Rugby Wales CEO Mark Davies also on hand to hear the range of views aired.
Wales duo Rhun Williams and Liam Belcher, who makes a welcome return after five months of injury woe, look ahead to next month's World Rugby U20 Championship in Manchester where they will face Ireland, Georgia and New Zealand.
Whenever Bedlinog tackle Penallta a massive fixure is guaranteed but this Sunday there will be even more emphasis placed on the two rivals when they contest the SSE Swalec Plate final at Principality Stadium.
Ahead of their SSE SWALEC Bowl Final clash with Taffs Well at Principality Stadium on Sunday, Burry Port share their #FABXV nomination with WRUTV in the search for Welsh rugby's greatest volunteers. Everyone can get involved by sending nominations via twitter to @WRU_Community using the hashtag #FABXV
Cardiff Blues prop Gethin Jenkins and Ospreys centre Ben John look ahead to the first game at Principality Stadium in Saturday's double header which is promising to be a special occasion for all Welsh fans.
Carmarthen Quins Director of Rugby Ian Jones and committee member Jeff Thomas along with Llandovery chairman Handel Davies look ahead to Sunday's SSE SWALEC Cup showdown where both teams are out to prove 'West is best'
SWALEC ambassador Shane WIlliams is looking forward to Sunday's Finals Day where the Cup, Bowl and Plate offers a great opportunity for players and teams to experience the magic of playing at Principality Stadium
Carmarthen Quins coach Richard Kelly believes it is an exciting time to be part of the Scarlets region as his side take on local rivals Llandovery in the SSE Swalec Cup final on Sunday, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers