The Ospreys have secured the services of some of the brightest young talent in Welsh rugby after signing four teenagers from across the region on development contracts.
18 year old Joe Rees (Mumbles RFC/Filton College, Bristol) and 17 year olds Liam Powell (Tonmawr RFC/Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera), Matthew Jarvis (Tonmawr RFC/Neath College) and Ben John (Loughor RFC/Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr) are the young guns who have been identified by the Ospreys coaching and development staff as having the potential to develop into the next generation of first teamers. The quartet have put pen-to-paper on contracts that will see them join the successful Ospreys Academy on a full-time basis, where they will look to follow in the footsteps of Academy graduates such as James Hook, Ian Evans and Alun-wyn Jones, as well as the current intake that includes young talent like Gareth Owen, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb, Kristian Phillips, Ashley Beck, Ryan Bevington and Rory Pitman who have all made an impact this season, for the Ospreys or at international age-group level. Outlining the individual talents of his new recruits, Ospreys Academy Manager Gethin Watts said: Ben John is a centre who was recently capped for Wales at Under-18 level at the Six Nations Festival in Cork. A talented, single minded individual, as all great players are, and as well as having excellent all round skills he possesses the right temperament to succeed at the top level. Matthew Jarvis has been involved in regional age group rugby since the under-16 level, but has really accelerated his development over the last 12 months, catching the eye in Cork with the Welsh side. As an outside half, he is relishing the challenge of following in the footsteps of Academy graduate James Hook. He has excellent distribution skills and has developed his game management ability. He is becoming a deadly accurate kicker, slotting over seven out of seven against Ireland at Musgrave Park recently. Liam Powell is a strong, powerful and dynamic winger with fantastic physical potential who is another player capped by Wales in the recent under-18 Six Nations, scoring tries against both England and Italy. Finally we have prop Joe Rees, who is excelling under the tutorage of Andrew Millward. A good technician at the scrum, he has an excellent appreciation of his roles and responsibilities around the pitch after being converted from the back row. Having studied at Filton College he has been courted by Bristol RFC but has opted to continue his development with the Ospreys.� Ospreys Elite Performance Director Andrew Hore added: It gives me great pleasure to welcome these talented individuals on board. As anyone who has followed the progress of the seven Academy signings that were announced last year will see, we are 100 per cent committed to developing the best young talent and are not afraid to give youth its chance. We fully appreciate that the Ospreys region represents some of Wales traditional rugby hotspots with a proud history of nurturing rugby talent, and we have a duty to ensure that this legacy survives. Everyone within the Ospreys takes great pride from the success of the Academy, which during the season just finished has once again delivered more young talent to the senior side. We look forward to watching the progress of Joe, Liam, Ben and Matthew over the coming seasons as they embark on what we all hope will be long and prosperous careers with the Ospreys. Gethin Watts added: It is an exciting time for the four individuals as they start out on the long road to a career in professional rugby with the Ospreys. These are four young players who have displayed the required talent and commitment needed to succeed in the game and have been rewarded with development contracts that will allow us to provide the tools to assist them with their aim of becoming fully-fledged Ospreys. Pic attached: Pictured from left to right are the latest recruits to the Ospreys Academy - Ben John, Joe Rees, Matthew Jarvis, Liam Powell.