Ospreys centurion, Jonathan Spratt, has today announced his retirement from professional rugby at the end of the season.
The 31-year old Welsh international centre, who has played 101 times for his home region, will hang up his boots more than 10 years after making his debut off the bench in a 25-20 defeat to Munster at Thomond Park, to take up a new opportunity within rugby.
“This is the right time for me to move on to the next stage of my life” said Spratt.
“I’ve had a good career. I was only 20-years old when I made my debut and I realise that most professional rugby players don’t get as long in the shirt as I’ve had so I’m extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity and to have been able to do the dream job as long as I have.
“Throughout my career I’ve always been very aware of the fact that a sportsman is only one injury away from being finished so I’ve always worked hard to develop myself off the field and I’m looking forward to putting my skills to the test in a different environment.
“In the short term though there’s still some work to do as an Osprey with the Scarlets game on Saturday and then, hopefully, play-offs to prepare for after that and, whatever the outcome, I want to help the team end the season on a high.”
Capped by Wales at age-grade level, Spratt came through the development pathway at the Ospreys, via Neath Athletic and then the Welsh Premiership with Neath, before securing his first regional contract in 2007, after his debut in Ireland.
Having impressed during a loan spell in the Air New Zealand Cup with Taranaki in the summer of 2008, Spratt gained the first of his four Wales caps the following year, against Canada in Toronto. After 23 regional appearances, he spent 2011/12 with London Irish in the Aviva Premiership, playing 11 times for the Exiles, before returning to his home region a year later. His 100th appearance came in the Anglo Welsh Cup win over Wasps earlier this year.
He has scored 10 tries for the Ospreys and captained the team on 12 occasions, a total bettered by only eight players in the region’s history.
Graduating in law from Swansea University, Spratt has also recently attained post-grad business management qualifications. He achieved his National WRU Level 2 and 3 WRU Coaching Certificates whilst coaching Neath Athletic and the Ospreys u18 RAG Team.
Ospreys Head Coach, Steve Tandy, has paid tribute to Spratt, describing him as a “100 per cent true Osprey”.
He said: “Having played alongside Spratty and then coached him for the last five years, I’ve only got high praise for him, as a rugby player and a person. He’s a 100 per cent true Osprey who has always put the team first without any hesitation, and has developed into someone with real leadership qualities over the years, overcoming significant challenges through injury along the way.
“He’s a smart guy who has put in the hard work to not only succeed as a rugby player but, also, to prepare himself fully for life after rugby. On behalf of Ospreys Rugby and from me personally, I’d like to wish Spratty all the best for the future and, once this season is done, we look forward to seeing him back here to support his region.”