Young Llandovery RFC tighthead Craig Cross has been handed a chance to carve a career in top-flight rugby after signing a professional contract with the Ospreys.
The 22-year old prop has joined up with the region for pre-season training after his potential was spotted playing in the Welsh Premiership for the Drovers.
Andrew Hore, Ospreys Elite Performance Director, said:
“Craig has been identified on the strength of his performances in the Premiership over the last couple of seasons, and we strongly believe that he has the potential and raw ability to develop into a quality tighthead with us.
“Speaking to him, he clearly has the commitment and desire to take this opportunity and really kick on in his career. He hasn’t been playing as a prop for many years having been switched from a lock, but we think that with the coaches we have here we can really help further that transition and help him become a better all-round player over the coming seasons.”
Hailing from Burry Port, Cross began his career as a member of the Scarlets Academy, making two Magners League appearances. A mainstay of the Llandovery front row in recent seasons, he is a hugely physical player who stands 1.95m tall, weighing in at 139kg and is now being viewed as a long-term prospect by Ospreys bosses.
Speaking after committing to the Ospreys, he said:
“When I was asked about the possibility of joining the Ospreys I jumped at it, there was no need to think twice. I probably felt that my big chance had gone and I’d just been enjoying my rugby with Llandovery when the call came.
“The coaches have watched me play and they believe that they can work with me to get me to regional level. I’m really looking forward to working with them, and the players here, to try to do that. They’ve spoken to me and identified the areas where they think they can improve me so now it’s about working hard with them to develop as a player. I’ve not played in this position for that long, I was switched to the front row a few years ago so I’m still learning the position. Being at the Ospreys will really help my development.
“I’m in a new environment now that I’ve got to get used to, I need to settle in quickly during pre-season and really get stuck into it.”