Ospreys Rugby are delighted to announce that highly rated flanker, Olly Cracknell, has signed a contract extension, committing himself to the region until summer 2018.
- Yorkshire born youngster was capped by Wales at U20 level, qualifying through his grandfather
- Signed for the Ospreys in 2014 after impressing with RGC following a spell in South Africa
- Has played 17 times for the region to date, scoring one try
- New contract means that he will stay with Ospreys for at least two more seasons
A former Wales U20 cap, Cracknell has been with the Ospreys since 2014, arriving at the Liberty Stadium via Yorkshire, South Africa and North Wales.
His original three-year contract had one season remaining, but the 22-year old has agreed to an additional year.
Having made three appearances in his first season, he featured regularly in 2016/16, particularly in the second half of the season, finishing the campaign with a further 14 appearances and scoring his first try in the April win over Treviso.
“I’m really pleased and quite excited” said Cracknell after putting pen to paper on his new deal.
“To get the vote of confidence from the coaches is always a big thing. Week in, week out, you’ve got to try and perform, and thankfully, I performed at the end of the season and got a bit of game time as a result.
“I want to continue striving to be consistent in my performance, that’s something the coaches have said I need to maintain. I’ve had a few good games at the end of the season but I’m still a long way off from where I want to be. I’ll just get my head down and keep working.”
Having been a part of the Leeds Carnegie Academy as a teenager he toured South Africa with Leeds Grammar School in 2012, playing five games, after which he was invited to spend 2013 with the Border Bulldogs Academy in East London where he played for the Currie Cup outfit’s U19 team.
Welsh qualified through his grandfather, on his return to the UK he was invited to North Wales to sign for RGC in December 2013, where he caught the eye in the Swalec Championship. Just three months later he was called into the Welsh U20 squad for the first time, quickly establishing himself as first choice in the number six shirt for the national age-grade team, starting all five games for Wales in that summer’s junior world cup before heading south to Ospreylia.
Ospreys Head Coach, Steve Tandy, welcomed the news, saying:
“It’s great news that Olly has agreed to extend his time with us. He’s made a big impression since signing for us and has matured into a real talent. Over the course of last season we saw him make big strides, and he handled some frustrating moments around not being selected at times very well, using it to drive him on.
“He earned his chance in the latter part of the season and you have to say he was selected ahead of some big players on merit. The challenge for him now is to maintain those standards consistently, we feel there is still a lot more to come from Olly as he continues to develop and are extremely pleased that he sees our environment as the best fit for him to do that.”
Cracknell is the 17th player to sign a new contract with the Ospreys since December. Captain Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb, have re-signed National Dual Contracts, while Lloyd Ashley, Jeff Hassler, Dafydd Howells, Ashley Beck, Gareth Thomas, Ben John, Scott Otten, Tom Habberfield, Eli Walker, Joe Bearman and Ryan Bevington have all agreed new Ospreys deals. Meanwhile, Wales U20 Grand Slam winners, Adam Beard and Owen Watkin, have signed their first professional contracts.
In addition, the Ospreys have also confirmed the signing of Wales second row, Bradley Davies on an NDC from Wasps for next season, along with Crusaders centre/wing, Kieron Fonotia, Scarlets and Wales prop, Rhodri Jones, and Dragons hooker, Hugh Gustafson.
Wasps’ renowned Defence Coach, Brad Davis, has also been appointed ahead of the 2016/17 season.
Meanwhile, local teenagers Charlie Davies, Phil Jones, Will Jones, Reuben Morgan-Williams and James Ratti have all signed development contracts with the region, along with 21-year old former Wales U20 prop Alex Jeffries (ex-Dragons) and 24-year old Aberavon winger, Jay Baker.