Ospreys Rugby are delighted to announce that twice capped Wales back-rower, Dan Baker, has become the latest to commit himself to the region.
The 21-year old has signed a three-year contract that keeps him at the Liberty Stadium until the summer of 2017, making him the 10th player to re-sign for the Ospreys this year.
He came through the ranks within the region, first representing his community club Ystradgynlais RFC, before entering the Ospreys age-grade system. Moving into the Premiership as an 18-year old, he has played 46 times for Swansea, scoring 14 tries.
His regional debut came in January 2013, against the Dragons in the LV= Cup, with his first start coming a year later at the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field against Sale in the same competition. His fine form for the Ospreys during this year’s Six Nations window including his first try, in the win over Treviso in February, has led to a recent eye-catching run in the starting line-up. He now has 13 Ospreys appearances to his credit.
A Wales age-grade cap, Baker featured in the historic 9-6 win over New Zealand U20 in the 2012 Junior World Championships as the Welsh youngsters progressed to the semi-final. Having made a big impression on the national coaching team, he received his first call-up to the senior Wales set-up in 2013, going on the summer tour to Japan and gaining two caps.
After signing his new deal, Baker said:
“I’m really happy. Ever since I was a kid, all I wanted to be was an Ospreys player. This year I’ve been able to play for the region and now I’ve got my first pro contract. I’m really happy to be here for the next three years. I’m a local boy and this is my region.
“It’s been a very good year for me, I’m pretty lucky really, to have got the experience in Japan with Wales last summer, and now that I’m fully fit after a few months out it’s brilliant to be playing regularly for the Ospreys.
“I’ve got to try and build on this over the next three years. It won’t be easy to establish myself in the first team but I’ll give it my best shot and hopefully I’ll be good enough.”
Andy Lloyd, Rugby Operations Manager, added:
“Dan was very unfortunate coming back from a successful experience in Japan last summer to pick up a bump that ruled him out until early this year. Since then he has worked extremely hard and it’s been great to see him kicking on and forcing himself into contention for the senior XV on merit recently. He’s taken his opportunity with both hands, which is what you want to see from a youngster when he gets the chance.
“He’s something of a crowd pleaser with the ‘go-forward’ he gives the team. Physically, he’s very strong, very powerful, and a great ball carrier, who is also very capable defensively, and he gives us an option around the field.
“What he mustn’t do now is get complacent. It’s important that he continues to show the right attitude on and off the pitch, and builds on the hard work that has got him to this point in his career.
“Looking forward to next season we are building a squad that will excite any Ospreys supporter, with a blend of experience and youth. The prospect of seeing this team maturing and growing together over the next two or three years is an intriguing one that all supporters should look forward to.”
Baker follows on from Alun Wyn Jones, Sam Lewis, Ashley Beck, Eli Walker, Jonathan Spratt, Ben John, Ryan Bevington, Dmitri Arhip and Nicky Smith in signing new deals, while the addition of Rynier Bernardo (Eastern Province Kings), Josh Matavesi (Worcester) and Dragons pair, Sam Parry and Dan Evans for next season have all been confirmed.