Versatile front-rower Dmitri Arhip will remain at the Liberty Stadium next season after the Ospreys opted to activate a one-year extension clause in his contract.The Moldovan international initially signed for the region back in November and has made a considerable impact in his short time as an Ospreys player.
Capable of operating anywhere in the front-row, Arhip's debut for the region came off the bench at the Liberty in a PRO12 win over Cardiff Blues at the end of November, with his Heineken Cup bow coming a week later away to European giants Toulouse. Already a popular figure with Ospreys fans, he has made nine appearances to date, scoring his first try in the win over the Dragons in March.
Andy Lloyd, Rugby Operations Manager at the Ospreys, said that Arhip could grow to become a huge asset for the region:
"Dmitri has been a great addition to our squad. He is a fantastic athlete, one of the best in the group, and is a very versatile player who had the potential to be top quality in more than one position, something that makes him extremely valuable to us given the salary cap. His attitude is first class, he has come here to develop on and off the field, and he has a work rate that is second to none.
"We've already seen what he can bring to the team in different positions. He's been outstanding when we've needed him, so it's excellent news that he will remain with us for next season. He's settled well into the area and certainly feels at home here. If he continues to work hard and develop at the rate he has since last November then we're confident that we are going to have a first rate player on our hands who will increase the options available to the coaches."
A Russian Superleague winner with Yenisey-STM Krasnoyarsk, Arhip moved to Ospreylia after the 2012 play-offs, having previously played for Dinamo Bucharest in Romania where he also picked up a league title.
After the extra year was confirmed, Arhip said:
"This is really good news for me. I am really happy to be staying with the Ospreys which is a great place for a front row forward to learn. I'm looking forward to next season and playing more games for the Ospreys."