The Ospreys today confirmed the appointment of Ian Kirkham as Regional Physio.
31-year old Kirkham, who hails from Ystrad Mynach, replaces Daloni Lucas who left the region at the end of last season to take up a new post with the Professional Jockeys Association.
The appointment takes the medical team back up to the full complement of three, with Head Physio Chris Towers and Brian O'Leary already at the region.
His role will see him working primarily with players from the Elite Youth Development programme, although he will also provide cover to the senior squad's A and B groups where needed.
He joins the region having previously worked in the NHS for Hampshire PCT based in Southampton, combining his full-time post with a role in Portsmouth FC's Youth Academy. Having graduated in Sports Science at the University of Glamorgan, he then completed his studies at Southampton University where he did a BSC in Physiotherapy.
Speaking about his appointment, Ian Kirkham said:
"It's a really exciting time for me personally, to be joining the Ospreys, a team that I already support. I think it's obvious that the Ospreys are the most forward thinking region in everything they are doing and I can't wait to start working with the boys when they come back in for pre-season next week and getting stuck into the job,
"What has struck me looking around the place is the quality of the back-up staff that is in place here and I'm pleased to now be joining them. I'm looking forward to working under Chris Towers, a Head Physio who really knows his stuff, and being able to help play a part helping to take the Ospreys forward next season."
Elite Performance Director, Andrew Hore, welcomed Ian to the region saying:
"With recent research showing that on average, professional rugby teams in the UK are without 23 per cent of their squad through injury at any given time, it is impossible to underestimate the importance of a strong sports medicine team.
"Last summer we became the first region in Wales to employ three physiotherapists when we appointed Brian O'Leary to the team, and following the departure of Daloni, we now have an opportunity to introduce more local, young talent to the support team at the Ospreys in the form of Ian Kirkham.
"We have always looked to provide first class facilities for our young players, to ensure they have everything they need in order to pursue a career as a professional rugby player, and this appointment backs that up, ensuring that our Elite Youth Development Players have dedicated, first class medical support.
"Ian will have an important role to play over the coming months and seasons, working closely with the youngsters which will, I'm sure, prove to be an exciting and challenging environment for him to to develop as a sports physiotherapist."