Ospreys Rugby are delighted to announce that Sam Davies, IRB Junior World Player of the Year for 2013, has signed his first professional contract with the region.
The 20-year old fly-half has committed his future to the Ospreys, signing a three-year deal which runs until summer 2017. He is the 14th player to recommit to the region in 2014, while an additional five new signings have also been confirmed ahead of next season.
After putting pen to paper on his new contract, Davies said:
“This is my home region and it’s somewhere I’m really happy to be. I think it’s good place for me to be in terms of my ongoing development as a player and improve my game so I’m grateful for the opportunity and really pleased to sign this contract. I’ve really enjoyed being involved with the senior team and getting some experience this season, and I’ve got a real challenge ahead of me over the next three years to keep on improving and to establish myself fully within the group.”
The first pro deal rounds off an impressive year for the former Gowerton Comprehensive School pupil, who played for Gorseinon RFC as a junior before progressing through the regional development pathway. After representing the Ospreys and Wales at age-grade level, he scored 267 points in 30 appearances for Swansea.
Last summer he guided the Wales U20 team to their first ever Junior World Championship final, playing in all five games and scoring 61 points on the way to becoming only the second Welshman to ever collect the IRB award as the outstanding young talent in world rugby.
Upon his return to his home region he swiftly established himself within the senior Ospreys environment last season, building on four LV= Cup appearances during the two previous campaigns. He played 20 times for the region during 2013/14, making 15 starts and scoring 82 points. Although an outside half throughout his career to date, all but three of those starts saw him playing at full-back.
Reflecting on his progress to date, Davies said that his time in the back three has helped him settle in at PRO12 and European level. However, he has aspirations to challenge the current incumbent in the number 10 shirt, Dan Biggar, over the coming seasons.
“I’ve had plenty of game time over this last year, mostly at 15, and I’m just pleased to be playing” he said.
“Obviously I’d say I want to play 10 as that’s where I’ve always played until this season but I realise that with Dan in front of me it’s not going to be easy. If it means I’m involved on a match day I’ll play wherever the coaches want me to and use that opportunity to show what I can do and to gain more experience. That’s what every young player has to do when they get given their chance, and I’m no different.
“Nothing happens overnight, it’s a long term thing and it’s about continuing to work hard, keeping your feet on the ground and progressing your game. It’s a long season and there are plenty of games so hopefully I can continue
“Moving things forward over the next three years I think we’ve got a really good young squad developing with competition for places, and hopefully we can really start to show that on the field.”
Andy Lloyd, Rugby Operations Manager, said:
“It’s been great to see Sam getting his opportunity this year, albeit in a different position to the one he has grown up playing, and making such a favourable impression in the jersey. It says a lot about his maturity for such a young man, and also his footballing class, that he has settled in so well to the senior group while coming to terms with not just senior rugby but also an unfamiliar position.
“To have him here for another three years is a huge boost to the Ospreys and to Welsh rugby. He is a very talented player, someone who reads the game well and has shown that he possesses the full skill set. We are consciously trying to expand our game; historically we’ve been very narrow, and Sam was a big part of a more adventurous back line last season that helped us to score more tries than anybody else in the PRO12.
“There is now genuine competition across the whole of the back line, something that we probably couldn’t have honestly said a year or two ago. When you look at new recruits this summer in Josh Matavesi and Dan Evans, along with the arrivals last summer and the likes of Sam flourishing over the last 12 months I think we are in a healthy position. For Sam himself, the next couple of years are huge.
“The recruitment we’ve carried out means that we’re looking at him as a 10 and seeing if he can rise to the challenge of pushing Dan for the right to run the team from that position. His positive attitude, hard work and desire to succeed have secured him the opportunity to challenge for the jersey and how far he goes now is up to him. He is an exciting young talent, one of a new generation of players coming through the system who have a bright future ahead of them if they stay grounded and continue to work hard.
“We want a hunger and a desire among the group for the jersey and having two quality young, local players competing for the number 10 jersey can only be a positive thing for the team and for our supporters.”
In addition to Sam, the following players have all signed new contracts; Alun Wyn Jones, Sam Lewis, Ashley Beck, Eli Walker, Jonathan Spratt, Ben John, Ryan Bevington, Dmitri Arhip, Nicky Smith, Dan Baker, Dan Suter, Lloyd Peers and Hanno Dirksen.
Rynier Bernardo, Sam Parry and Gareth Thomas are new faces for next season along with Evans and Matavesi.
Season memberships for 2013/14 remain on sale, with prices starting at just £99 for adults while the Kids Plus package costs £40 and includes a brand new BLK Ospreys jersey as well as admission to all regular season home games.