21-year old Justin Tipuric will become the second youngest Ospreys captain ever when he leads the team out at the RDS Showground for the Magners League game against Leinster on Friday evening.
The young openside has been named as skipper for the clash just five months after his 21st birthday, putting him just behind Jonathan Thomas as the youngest ever, who led the Ospreys into the action for the first time in a Heineken Cup tie against Edinburgh less than four weeks after his 21st birthday back in January 2004, during the Ospreys inaugural season.
Trebanos RFC product Tipuric will captain the team on Friday evening just 14 months after making his senior debut as a late replacement against Northampton Saints in the LV= Cup at the Liberty Stadium. After making two appearances last season, he has featured 12 times so far during the current campaign, making seven starts.
Speaking after being confirmed as captain, Tipuric said:
“I’m honoured to be able to lead out such a great bunch of players, and also, to be able to captain my local team that I’ve supported since long before I was fortunate enough to be able to play for them. To be appointed captain of the Ospreys is something special for me, particularly coming at such an early stage in my career.
“I captained Wales U20’s at the World Cup in 2009 for a couple of games, and also the local club, Trebanos, when I was a boy. This is something completely different though. It’s always an honour to captain your side, to go out there and lead by example. It’s every player’s dream to be honest and it’s something everyone aspires to. If I want to do it again, the first thing I’ve got to do is nail down a place, definitely. To be captain of the Ospreys you have to be playing for them, something which in itself is a great achievement to be honest.”
Elite Performance Director, Andrew Hore, congratulated Tipuric on his achievement on behalf of the Ospreys. He said:
“To be appointed captain of his home region at the age of just 21 is an achievement that Justin can justifiably be very proud of. Here at the Ospreys we are all about the development of young talent and Justin is a local boy who has been given his opportunity and grabbed it with both hands.
“We believe that he has both the ability and the personality to become a long term captain of the Ospreys in the future. He displays the characteristics and attitude that we expect from all our players coming through, and as such, is a very positive role model for all young Ospreys players, and this is a well earned reward for the progress he has made so far this season and continues to make.”