Ospreys bosses today confirmed that they are in discussions with rugby chiefs in New Zealand with a view to securing the early release of New Zealand "â¬ËA"â¬â¢ scrum half Jamie Nutbrown, after the 27 year-old agreed in principle to a two-year contract with
Ospreys bosses today confirmed that they are in discussions with rugby chiefs in New Zealand with a view to securing the early release of New Zealand - scrum half Jamie Nutbrown, after the 27 year-old agreed in principle to a two-year contract with the region.
Nutbrown has twelve months remaining on his NZRU contract and has been hotly tipped in his home country for a call-up to the All Blacks autumn tour of the UK and, if negotiations progress, is expected to provide a stern challenge to Mike Phillips for the number nine shirt at the Ospreys.
A former Super 12 winner with Canterbury Crusaders, Nutbrown has spent the last three seasons at Waikato Chiefs where he has been involved in a keenly contested battle for a starting place with All Black Brendan Leonard. Considered one of the leading scrum halves in New Zealand, the Ospreys are hopeful that agreement can be reached in time to allow the player to arrive at the Liberty Stadium at the end of August, ahead of the new season.
Standing 1.79m tall and weighing in at 87kg, he has represented New Zealand at all age groups as well as A Team level. Hailing from Belfast in Canterbury, he initially made his Super 12 breakthrough at the Crusaders, making his debut against the Waratahs in 2004. The highlight of his time with the red and blacks was the 2005 Super 12 Final, also against the Waratahs, where he was part of the Crusaders squad that clinched their fifth title. He moved to the Chiefs in 2006, where he has made 22 Super 14 appearances.
Having suffered a knee injury in the opening game of the 2008 campaign, he spent eight weeks on the sidelines before returning to the starting line-up in the closing month of the Super 14, starting three of the last four matches. In recent weeks he has worn the captain's armband for Bay of Plenty in the Air New Zealand Cup.
Ospreys Elite Performance Director Andrew Hore, who is currently in New Zealand meeting rugby bosses there to discuss the issue, commented:
"We are currently in discussions in New Zealand and are hopeful that we will shortly be able to confirm the signing of Jamie Nutbrown. He is a highly rated scrum half who has been on the verge of a call-up to the All Black squad on a number of occasions, as recently as this summer's Tri-Nations. He has been hotly tipped for the tour squad in November having gained extensive experience with both the Chiefs and the Crusaders, including being involved in winning a Super 14 title.
Jamie has an excellent work ethic, he is a strong character who sets very high standards on and off the field. As an individual who appreciates that being a professional rugby player is a very privileged position to be in, he fully understands the importance of the hard work and dedication needed to succeed. The coaches we've spoken to have all said the same thing about him, he is a fantastic person to have around a squad as his enthusiasm and professionalism rub off on others and help to raise standards, whilst his rugby ability speaks for itself.
In his career to date, he has played with, and learnt from, some great players, which has helped him to become an excellent scrum half and he would be an asset to the Ospreys. I have no doubt that Jamie's potential arrival could have a highly positive impact in the dressing room, he is the type of personality who will lift everybody. The intention is that he's coming to Ospreylia with a view to not only challenging Mike Phillips for the number nine shirt, but importantly given our commitment to bringing through Welsh talent, to help develop the likes of Rhys Webb."
Should the Ospreys successfully agree his early release, Jamie Nutbrown will become the fifth overseas player at the Ospreys, still two short of the limit for the coming season. He will be reunited with his former Chiefs teammate Marty Holah, and fellow New Zealander Filo Tiatia, as well as Scotland wing Nikki Walker and Ireland winger Tommy Bowe, who has joined the region this summer from Ulster.