Forward James King has committed his future to the Ospreys after signing his first professional contract with the region.
The 20-year old has agreed a deal that will keep him at the Liberty Stadium until the end of the 2012/13 season.
Mold RFC product King has been with the region since early 2008 after accepting an invitation to move south after catching the eyes of the Ospreys talent ID team, a move that has worked out positively for the player.
He has been a part of the Wales U20 squad for the last two years, featuring in the Junior World Championships in Japan during 2009, before going to Argentina for this year’s competition.
A versatile player who is equally at home in the back or second row, King has already featured four times in competitive action for the Ospreys, his debut coming in the Magners League against Glasgow in October last year, with three further appearances coming in the LV= Cup, including his first start against Bath at the Recreation Ground.
“It’s good news, I’m more than happy to be able to commit my long term future to the Ospreys. This is where I want to be, and to know that I’ve got another three years is brilliant for me.
“I’ve had to put in a lot of hard work to get to this stage, and a lot of other people have put in a lot of effort on my behalf right through my career, so this is reward for them as well as me.
“There are a lot of good players ahead of me here so there’s a long way to go yet, but that’s part of my motivation. I aspire to be as good as them. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully in the not too distant future I’ll get to where they are now. It will be tough to get in ahead of them, but I’m striving to improve as a player, I’m learning from the knowledge that they have to pass down.
“You can look at it both ways can’t you? Some people would say ‘look who’s ahead of you, you’re not going to play’ but I look at it as a challenge, something that I’ve got to try and do. I’m working with players like Jonathan Thomas, Alun Wyn Jones and Ryan Jones, who have captained the Ospreys and Wales, and Jerry Collins, a former captain of New Zealand. They are all quality international players and that’s what I want to be. To do that, you’ve got to learn from them.
“I made the decision to leave home and come down to the Ospreys and it was definitely the right choice, then and now. The coaches wouldn’t want to keep me here if they didn’t value what I do so hopefully I can continue to work hard, improve, and hopefully, I’ll get my reward.”
Ospreys Forwards Coach, Jonathan Humphreys, said it was good news for both the player and the region:
“We identified James as a real prospect a couple of years ago. We felt that he is an athlete that we could develop and he has proved that. He’s got a fantastic attitude and is growing physically in front of our eyes. We believe he will add to our back five resources and will become an important part of the squad here.
“We’re delighted that he has signed a new contract and will continue to be a part of our environment, hopefully for many years to come.”