Jonathan Thomas has today confirmed that he has signed for Worcester Warriors after being released from his contract with the Ospreys a year early to sign for the Aviva Premiership club.
The 30-year old makes the switch after 10 years as an Osprey, havingbeen an 'Original', who was part of the first ever regional squad back in 2003. Prior to the inception of the Ospreys he played for Swansea RFC.
Speaking about his move, the Pembroke born forward said:
"The Ospreys have been a huge part of my life for so long now that it is going to be really strange reporting for pre-season training somewhere other than Llandarcy. I'm really proud of everything we've achieved over the last 10 years, particularly winning four league titles and an EDF Energy Cup at Twickenham. What we've done at the Ospreys has also allowed me to represent Wales 67 times, and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had those experiences.
"I'm grateful to the supporters, coaches, players and management at the Ospreys for all the backing they've given me. I've made friends who will stay friends for life whatever happens next. I've got some great memories to take away with me, going all the way back to my days as a teenager with Swansea.
"While sad to be leaving the Ospreys, I'm really excited about the future and relishing the prospect of experiencing a new culture and playing in a new competition, although I will still be following the region from afar."
Thomas leaves the Ospreys having joined Andrew Bishop at the top of the all-time appearance list on 188 in the defeat against Glasgow last month. Having risen to attention as a teenager at Swansea, captaining the All Whites at the age of just 19, Thomas was part of the inaugural Ospreys squad in 2003. He made his debut against Leinster that November, and just two months later captained the region for the first time, in a Heineken Cup tie against Edinburgh, less than four weeks after his 21st birthday making him, to this day, the youngest ever Osprey captain.
Ospreys Managing Director, Roger Blyth, has worked closely with Thomas since their days with Swansea RFC, and he paid personal tribute, saying:
"I would describe Jonathan as a true son of our region. He joined Swansea as a 17-year old, captaining the team at just 19, and he never failed to give 100 per cent for the jersey ever.
"Someone who has recovered from adversity on and off the field, he has always been a credit to Swansea, the Ospreys, and more importantly, his family. Although disappointed to be losing his services, I sincerely wish Jonathan and his family all the very best for the future."
Andrew Hore, Chief Operations Officer at the Ospreys, added:
"Jonathan has been a tremendous servant for both the Ospreys and Swansea RFC over the last 12 years and we wish him all the best at his new club.
"In a more politically stable environment there's no doubt that we'd be able to keep quality individuals like JT. However due to the restraints of a salary cap to ensure the regions remain sustainable, the need to bolster our squad in other positions and the developmental process creating greater depth in certain positions, extremely tough decisions like this have to be made, not only by the Ospreys but by the individual also.
"Jonathan fully understands the current position of the business and it is typical of his selfless attitude that he has opted to be released one year early from his contract, after this exciting opportunity for him at Worcester arose.
"There will always be a welcome for him back at the Ospreys in some capacity, be that as a player, administrator or coach, and I'm sure that he looks forward to that day as much as we do."