The Ospreys have received a festive boost today with the news that three more players have committed their futures to the region.
Flanker Steve Tandy, winger Jonathan Vaughton and hooker Marc Breeze have all followed on from former All-Black Marty Holah, who signed a 12-month extension to his existing contract earlier this month, keeping him at the Liberty Stadium until the end of the 2009/10 season.
28-year old Tandy has been with the Ospreys since the inception of regional rugby in 2003, making his debut away to Leinster in the region's third ever competitive fixture. Predominantly used as an openside, Tandy has also turned out for the Ospreys as a blindside and number eight. To date, he has clocked up 85 appearances for the region, helping himself to eight tries. With his existing contract set to expire in the summer, Tandy has signed a new three-year deal that will see him remain an Osprey until 2012.
Vaughton has agreed a one-year extension to his current deal, taking him through until the end of the 2009/10 season. A local product who came through the ranks at Swansea RFC, he made his Ospreys debut against Munster in September 2005. The 26-year old has since gone on to make 48 appearances, including the famous win over Australia in November 2006, and the victorious EDF Energy Cup Final at Twickenham earlier this year, scoring nine tries.
Academy graduate Marc Breeze, 21, is the latest young Osprey to make the breakthrough into the senior team, making his debut against Edinburgh in the Magners League last month. A regular for Aberavon in the Welsh Premiership and capped by Wales at every age-group level, Breeze has signed a two year extension to his current deal, which runs until summer 2011.
Commenting on the signings, Ospreys Coach Sean Holley said:
"The development of the best local talent is at the heart of everything we do here at the Ospreys, so it is always excellent news when we are able to retain the service of three local players who learnt the game at clubs across the region.
Steve Tandy was one of the first ever Ospreys and we are delighted to retain his services. He is a true stalwart of the region and reflects the culture we are trying to enhance at the Ospreys both on and off the field, he is a natural leader who is respected by his peers. With strong competition in his favoured position from the likes of Marty Holah and Ben Lewis, it is a clear indication of Steve's character and durability, and the faith we have in him, that we are so keen to secure his services.
Jonathan is now approaching 50 appearances for the region and is an important part of the current Ospreys squad. He is a well-liked and versatile individual who has been a proven try scorer for the region over the last three years. It is pleasing that we have extended Jonathan's contract as he provides a good balance to the team. We believe that he can still improve further over the course of his new contract and look forward to helping him reach new levels. ##
Marc Breeze has been a consistent performer for Aberavon RFC in the Welsh Premiership this season and after introducing him as a squad member this summer we have been impressed with his professionalism and his attitude to improve. He is proving to be a useful acquisition and his enthusiasm and potential has been rewarded with this new contract. With two current International hookers in our squad there will be opportunities during certain times of the season for Marc and the other young hookers in our region to impress. We look forward to seeing him seriously challenge for a place in the near future."