Ospreys Rugby are delighted to confirm that Canadian international Chauncey O'Toole has signed for the region and will meet up with the squad following the Rugby World Cup.
25-year old O’Toole has put pen to paper on a contract that runs until the end of the season, with an option to extend.
An openside flanker who can also play at blindside or number eight, O’Toole has become one of the hottest prospects in world rugby after some outstanding performances in the red of his country at this year’s Churchill Cup.
He was named as ‘Man of the Series’ by Sky Sports as Canada reached the final for the second successive season, his achievements in this year’s competition following on from the 2010 tournament, where again he was named ‘Man of the Match’ in two of Canada’s three fixtures.
Born in Bellisle, New Brunswick, O’Toole grew up playing ice hockey before taking up rugby in his late teens, and played for Atlantic Rocks before moving to Oak Bay Castaway Wanderers in the Canadian National League. He has previous experience of life in Wales, after spending time as part of the RGC 1404 set-up in 2010, an experience that also led to him enjoying a short spell with Glasgow during the same year.
Capped 11 times since making his debut in a 25-6 defeat to Ireland in Vancouver just over two years ago, O’Toole has scored three tries for his country and has also represented Canada in the IRB Sevens World Series. Currently involved in Canada’s preparations for the Rugby World Cup, he will feature in their home game against USA this weekend.
A powerful and pacy ball carrier and strong in defence, O’Toole becomes the latest in a line of Candian players to move to Wales, following in the footsteps of the likes of Dan Baugh at Cardiff, former Osprey Luke Tait and his brother John (Cardiff), and Rod Snow at the Dragons.
The current crop of Canadian internationals are also making their mark in the world game, with the likes of Jamie Cudmore at Clermont Auvergne, DTH van der Merwe at Glasgow and fellow back-rower Jebb Sinclair, also from New Brunswick, recently signing for London Irish.
Speaking about the move, O’Toole said:
"I am really excited about joining the Ospreys, a team recognised as being one of the best in world rugby at developing players. I'm very grateful to have been given the opportunity by the region and can’t wait to join up with the squad after the Rugby World Cup."
Chief Operations Officer, Andrew Hore, welcomed him to the region, saying:
“Chauncey is a player who has developed a reputation as an exciting player capable of competing against world class players and we are delighted to be able to add him to our squad for the coming season, especially given the interest in him from teams in both the Aviva Premiership and the PRO12.
“As with our other new signings, we believe that not only does he have the ability, but he also possesses the right characteristics and is the kind of person we want representing the Ospreys.
“He is coming into an environment that prides itself on player development and I’ve no doubt that he will make a big impact in a black shirt while continuing to grow as a player and as a person.”
Director of Coaching, Scott Johnson, added:
“To be able to secure Chauncey’s services is a real boost for us ahead of the new season. As an openside, he will provide real competition for Justin Tipuric and his flexibility and ability to play right across the back row provides another option. The sheer number of games in the season and the type of game we intend utilising means that it’s going to be important to keep our loose forwards fresh so Chauncey will get plenty of game time.
“We’ve placed a real importance on the character of the individual in our recruitment this summer, and Chauncey is no different. Having spent time with him in Canada recently and got to know him, I can see that he will bring to the region the right desire, commitment and grit that we want our players to have as we move forward on and off the field.”