The Ospreys today announced the early release of Justin Marshall to French T14 side Montpellier following lengthy and productive discussions between the region and player.
The Ospreys today announced the early release of Justin Marshall to French T14 side Montpellier following lengthy and productive discussions between the region and player about his ongoing role at the EDF Cup winning outfit, which began at the end of last season.
Marshall originally signed a two-year contract with the Ospreys in April 2006, and last year agreed to an extension to stay at the Liberty Stadium until 2009. At the time of signing the extension, both the Ospreys Directors and Marshall agreed to jointly review his position before the final year of his contract began.
Last season saw Marshall's fellow scrum half Mike Phillips establish himself as first choice in the red jersey of Wales as part of the Six Nations winning squad and with two star scrum halves on board, the inevitable competition for the Ospreys number nine shirt this season was likely to prove intense. Set against this backdrop, it comes as no surprise, that the Ospreys agreed with Marshall to examine the opportunity for an early release and jointly identify a suitable team in Europe as the target for the transfer, culminating in today's announcement.
Ospreys Elite Performance Director, Andrew Hore, said:
"We are delighted to have been able to work so closely with Justin to help secure his early release from the Ospreys and identify a club where his talents can be fully exploited during the next phase of his career. We wish him all the very best for the future and trust he will take a little bit of Ospreylia with him to France.
Our focus will now be on the continuing development of both Mike Phillips and Rhys Webb, who is the Wales under U20 scrum-half and has already tasted Magners League action with the Ospreys. We have some unique Welsh playing talent here at the Ospreys and have a proud record of developing home grown talent with a number of players coming through the ranks to represent both the region and Wales. We intend to continue developing young talent within an elite playing culture and an ethos encapsulating innovation and excellence whilst grounded in strong team values.
We are not discounting additional support at scrum half in the future if it is required but, should this be the case, it would almost certainly be in a role to assist with the development of both Mike Phillips and Rhys Webb as well as providing playing support, primarily in the Magners League."
Justin Marshall today said:
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Ospreys and in many ways I will be sorry to leave, however, I believe that the time is right to move on. I'm grateful to the directors of the Ospreys for working with me to secure my transfer and honouring our agreement to re-visit my work at the Ospreys a year into my contract extension.
I'm now looking forward to my move to Montpellier and the very different challenges that playing rugby in France will offer. It is a very exciting time for me personally and professionally, and I'm certainly looking forward to enjoying a new environment on and off the pitch."