Youngsters Kristian Phillips and Tom Prydie have expressed their delight at getting their first ever call into the senior Welsh squad.
The teenage duo were the shock inclusions in Warren Gatland’s 35 man squad for the forthcoming Six Nations squad, after making a combined total of just 8 Ospreys appearances between them.
19-year old Phillips has clocked up seven of those since making his regional debut against Newport Gwent Dragons in the penultimate fixture of the 2007/08 season. Just days later, he became the youngest player to ever start a Magners League game when the Ospreys travelled to Connacht to round off the season, his try in that game making him the youngest ever try scorer in the competition.
17-year old Prydie impressed during pre-season, leading to his inclusion in the Ospreys Heineken Cup squad for this campaign. His brief appearance off the bench to the end of the win in Viadana next month saw him set a new Heineken Cup record as the youngest ever player in the competition.
Speaking about their call-ups, the pair made the following comments:
“It’s unbelievable news and a fantastic honour for me to be selected in the Wales squad. It’s still sinking in. It’s been a great season for me personally, I’ve achieved far more than I could have ever hoped for, and this tops everything off. To be able to go into the Wales squad is incredible.
“I’ve got to thank Scott Johnson and Sean Holley for the faith they have shown in me, bringing me into the A Group this season and giving me a chance, without that, I wouldn’t be in the squad. It’s also important that I thank my family for their support and backing that has helped me get to this point”
“It’s amazing, I’m away with the Wales U20 squad at the moment but I’ve spoken to Warren Gatland and I’m buzzing about everything to be honest. I’ve had a long time out with injury since last season, but things have gone really well since I came back. I’ve been playing really well for the Neath, I’ve signed a long term contract for the Ospreys and now this.
“It is a reward for everybody who has helped my development, at the Ospreys Academy, Neath and at Tonmwar RFC where I started playing, as well as my family who have always been there for me and who have gone through every high and low of my rugby career so far.”
Speaking on behalf of the Ospreys, Elite Performance Director, Andrew Hore, said:
“Everybody at the region would like to congratulate Tom and Kristian on their achievements, and also, the other twelve players who return to the Wales camp once again. It is a great achievement for any player to represent their squad, and each one of the players should justifiably be extremely proud to have been named for the Six Nations, just as we are proud of them as Ospreys.
“To have 14 of our players included in the squad is also something that everybody at the Ospreys can take great pride in, as it is a representation of the work that is being done here day in, day out, to provide not only the next generation of players, in the shape of Tom and Kristian, but also, to continue developing and improving the senior players, helping them to become even better.
“The development of local young talent is that the heart of everything we stand for as an organisation, so it is extremely pleasing to see two more local players being recognised for their efforts, and we hope that this is just the start of a long and successful career for them both, as Ospreys and as Welsh internationals.”