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."
British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is looking forward to bringing together players from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales for the biggest challenge of their careers - a series against world champions, New Zealand.
For the fifth year running, Wales referee Nigel Owens will be in charge of proceedings at Judgement Day V at Principality Stadium. It promises to be 'extra special' for the Wales' favourite ref, as he will be making his 150th appearance in the league.
There will be no shortage of inside knowledge from Bowl Finalists Caerphilly and Amman United when they face each other on Sunday at National Finals Day. Caerphilly hooker Rhys Cleverly knows the Principality Stadium pitch better than most as a matchday groundsman, while Amman United can look to Wales' record try scorer Shane Williams for some helpful advice.
Two hundred and 40 teams competed in the inaugural Urdd WRU 7s held at Pencoed last week with Welsh internationals Steff Andrews and Jasmine Joyce impressed with the talent on display, as was Urdd chief executive, Sioned Hughes.
The countdown is on for Judgement Day V as tickets for the big day at Principality Stadium soar through the 50,000 mark. Players and coaches alike are bursting at the seams to play in the double header with Dragons coach Kingsley Jones claiming there is a 'real buzz' about the event.
WRU TV went behind the scenes when the four regions got together to test their skill set for the BBC's Scrum V Live rugby show, at the WRU National Centre of Excellene in the build up to Judgement Day V. Blues' Matthew Morgan was one of the stars of the show while the Dragons' Cory Hill proved a surprise package...the full set of results will be revealed on tv screens on matchday
Wales assistant coach Richie Pugh is confident his side can cause a few headaches in the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend. In a tough group, Wales kick off their campaign against New Zealand on Friday before playing Japan and Fiji, who are chasing their third consecutive Hong Kong title, on Saturday.
Bedwas had to overcome a stubborn Carmarthen Quins side before winning the Foster's Challenge Cup final in Bridgend with a 23-18 victory. Bedwas captain Nicky Griffiths pays tribute to his side who have claimed the club's first piece of silverware in the modern era.
Team coach Brett Davey is aiming to keep his unbeaten run in cup finals at Principality Stadium intact when his side take on Amman United in the WRU Bowl final, after he guided Caerphilly to a 20-14 win against Cilfynydd in the semi-finals.
Penallta are hoping to go one step further than last season when falling to Bedlinog in the WRU Plate Final. After a titanic struggle against Nant Conwy, they have given themselves a great chance, after a hard fought 18-13 semi-final victory.
The unique jeopardy of Judgement Day V has been described by stars from Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Scarlets and Newport Gwent Dragons who will face each other in the annual double-header at Principality Stadium on 15th April.