Scott Baldwin will make his 100th Ospreys appearance in Friday night’s crunch Champions Cup clash with Clermont Auvergne at the Liberty Stadium.
- Came through the development pathway via Bridgend Athletic and Bridgend Ravens, missing out on age-grade rugby
- Baldwin made his Ospreys debut in March 2009 at the Liberty Stadium against Leinster
- Enjoyed loan spell with ASR Milano in 2011/12 before returning to the Ospreys and coming off the bench in PRO12 Final in Dublin
- Now an international regular with Wales, he signed an NDC in November
The 27-year old will complete his century almost seven years after his debut off the bench against Leinster, also at the Liberty, in March 2009, two months after earning his first contract thanks to his form in the Premiership with hometown club Bridgend.
After finding himself on the fringes of the regional set-up in his first three years, including a loan spell with the Ospreys’ sister club in Italy, ASR Milano, he was handed his opportunity by Steve Tandy in the second half of the 2011/12 season. He was heavily involved in the run-in to a fourth league title, coming off the bench in the dramatic win over Leinster in the Final in Dublin at the end of May that year.
Now firmly established with region and country, having started every game for Wales at last autumn’s Rugby World Cup, Baldwin spoke in the build up to tomorrow’s game about his pride about becoming the latest Ospreys centurion.
“It’s something that I could never imagine I would achieve” said Baldwin.
“As a youngster signing my first contract, if I’m honest, I would have been proud and happy to get to 10 appearances for the Ospreys, particularly with games being few and far between those first few years. But, like anything, once you get a taste you want more I suppose, and I’m proud to be reaching 100 after working hard to make the most of the opportunity the Ospreys have given me.
“It’s a nice personal landmark to reach but it won’t mean anything if we don’t get the performance and outcome we want on the night, that’s the most important thing.”
Andrew Millward, Rugby General Manager at the Ospreys, paid tribute to Baldwin, saying:
“Scott’s come a long way over the last few years, really growing as an individual and a rugby player. He’s worked hard at his game and has transformed himself physically and is to be commended for what he has achieved so far. With experience has come the belief and understanding about what it takes to achieve at this level and he’s certainly come into his own for the Ospreys and, latterly, with Wales.
“For all his consistency in the black shirt in recent seasons, the best thing about him is there is still more to come from him. As he continues to grow, as he becomes a senior player within the environment, we are seeing more of his character starting to shine through and he is becoming someone we can rely on when the going gets tough.
“To reach 100 Ospreys caps is a significant achievement for any player. Given his path to becoming a regional regular didn’t follow the traditional one of age-grade rugby makes it all the more satisfying for him, and can serve as an inspiration for any young player out there.”
The former Bridgend Athletic youngster highlighted his late arrival into the pro game as a key factor, saying:
“Young players have to realise that opportunities don’t get cut off after U16s or U18s, there is a lot of development work being done all the time and if you work hard and play well in the Premiership you can get a chance at regional level.
“I’m fortunate enough to be at a region that takes great pride in developing local players and it’s worked out far better than I ever could have imagined it would have done when I went out to Milan a few years back. That experience changed me, then I came back and Tandy put his trust me as we went for the title. Hopefully I’ve been able to repay that trust and will be able to keep doing so for a few years yet.”
Tickets for Friday night’s game are on sale now via the Ticket Office, the Ticket Hotline on 0844 815 6665 and online at ospreysrugby.com/buytickets, with prices starting at just £20 (adults) and £5 (children).