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Bishop Becomes Latest Osprey To Sign New Deal

By - | 27/08/2008

Centre Andrew Bishop has handed the Ospreys a boost on the eve of the new season by signing a new four-year contract, making him the 13th player to commit his long-term future to the region during 2008.

Centre Andrew Bishop has handed the Ospreys a boost on the eve of the new season by signing a new four-year contract, making him the 13th player to commit his long-term future to the region during 2008.

The 23 year-old, who gained his first Welsh cap during the summer tour to South Africa, has put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at the Liberty Stadium until the end of the 2011/12 season.

Bishop made his Ospreys against Borders in February 2005 and has established himself as a key member of the squad since then, clocking up 76 appearances for the region, with 20 of those coming during the 2007/08 campaign. He has five tries to his credit, the most memorable of which came at Twickenham in April when he crossed the line against Leicester Tigers to set the Ospreys on their way to EDF Energy Cup glory.

Already capped in age-group rugby, his consistency was recognised by Wales coach Warren Gatland when he was named in the national squad for the trip Down Under in June, and he made his full international debut coming off the bench during the second test.

Speaking after signing his new contract, Andrew Bishop said:

"There was a year left on my existing contract so I'm really pleased to have been able to sort out this new contract now. It's obvious to everybody at the Ospreys that there are great things happening here, we've got a quality squad and great coaches, there's a real buzz about the place and we're confident about our chances for the new season. It's clearly something that any player would want to be a part of.

Last season was a fantastic one for me personally. I really made my mark in the side, had plenty of game time, made the Wales squad and now I want to build on that over the next four years. There are plenty of good centres at the Ospreys so I can't take anything for granted, but the situation is that the competition for places will benefit me, will benefit the Ospreys, and will benefit Wales. With so many quality players pushing for two starting spots we're all pushing each other onto better things, as we realise that we have to work hard just to get near the squad."

Ospreys coach Sean Holley added:

"Although still a youngster, Andrew has already proven his worth to the Ospreys with more than 70 appearances to his credit already, and last season we really saw him starting to make an impact. He got his reward for an excellent year when he was called up for the South Africa tour and I'm sure that the experience will be of immense benefit for him this year as he looks to push on to the next level.

The centre position is one where we have strength in depth and I'm looking forward to seeing Andrew providing real competition for the likes of Gavin Henson and Sonny Parker over the coming season and beyond."

As well as Andrew Bishop, fellow Welsh internationals Gavin Henson, Jonathan Thomas, Shane Williams, Lee Byrne, Paul James and Huw Bennett, former All- Black Filo Tiatia and youngsters Ben Lewis, Ed Shervington, Leigh Bevan, Gareth Owen and Rhys Webb have all signed new long-term deals during 2008.

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