The Ospreys today confirmed a deal to bring their former tight-head prop Cai Griffiths back to the Liberty Stadium on loan until the end of the season.
The move for the 28-year old comes after existing tight-heads Aaron Jarvis, Adam Jones and Joe Rees have all been ruled out with injury.
Griffiths first signed for the Ospreys from Caernarfon RFC in the summer of 2003 and went on to make 115 appearances before moving to the Madejski Stadium ahead of the current season. To date he has turned out six times for Irish, including three Aviva Premiership games.
He will be ineligible for the Ospreys’ Heineken Cup campaign having made one appearance in the Amlin Cup against Bordeaux-Begles in October but will provide much needed cover for a busy period in the RaboDirect PRO12, going straight into the line-up for Friday night’s Welsh derby against Cardiff Blues.
The search is continuing for experienced tight-head cover to come into the squad and strengthen the front-row options for the Heineken Cup, with management at the region confident of securing another signing over the next few days.
Andy Lloyd, Rugby Operations Manager at the region, commented:
“To lose our three first choice tight-heads to long term injuries at the same time is unprecedented. Beyond that, although Adam is pencilled in to return early in the New Year, we expect to lose him to Wales again for the Six Nations in February and March.
“With Joe and Aaron out for the entire season that leaves us looking very bare in what is a crucial position. When you factor in that we are likely to also be contributing two tight-heads to Wales U20s for two months as well, with the training commitments that comes with that, then the need for cover in that position becomes critical.
“We are very close to completing a deal for an experienced tight-head to slot into our ERC squad on his arrival, and although Cai is ineligible for the Heineken Cup having played in the Amlin Cup this season he will have a big part to play over the remainder of our PRO12 campaign, particularly during the international period.
“He will provide experienced cover in a key position, one where we have been stripped of all our senior options, and importantly he is already familiar with the Ospreys way having been a loyal servant to the region for nine years previously.”