Ospreys secure scrum-half cover

Ospreys Rugby have signed Canadian international Phil Mack on a short-term contract to provide cover for the injured Rhys Webb and Tom Habberfield.


27-year old Mack has been brought after the injuries left summer signing Tito Tebaldi as the only fit senior scrum-half at the region.


Youngster Tom Grabham has filled in as bench cover in the opening weeks of the season but is viewed by the region primarily as a winger.


Rugby Operations Manager, Andy Lloyd, commented:


We are pleased to have been able to secure Phil’s services and he will provide us with some much needed cover in a crucial position over the coming weeks. With Rhys already sidelined, Tom’s untimely pre-season injury has left us light at scrum-half, having only a winger or untried youngsters as cover.


“With that in mind we felt it was crucial that we acted swiftly, and in Phil we have someone who has impressed at international level and who we believe can come in at short notice and do a good job for the region. We are also grateful to the WRU for their understanding of the situation.”


Mack is from Victoria, British Columbia, and plays for the British Columbia Bears in the Canadian Rugby Championship. 1.70m tall and weighing 77kg, Mack played age-grade rugby for his country at U19 and U21 level, and has also represented Canada on the IRB sevens circuit, currently standing 22nd in the all-time IRB Sevens World Series scoring list with 694 points.


He has played 19 times for Canada in total, 14 of which were capped matches. His first cap came in May 2009 against Ireland and was also involved a week later when Wales won 32-23 in Toronto.


This summer he has been heavily involved with the national team during one of their most successful periods in their history. He played in three of Canada’s four games in the IRB Pacific Nations Cup where they finished in second place behind Fiji and ahead of Tonga, Japan and USA, winning man of the match in the win over Fiji. He also started in the Rugby World Cup Play-Off win over USA in Charleston during August that helped secure Canada’s place at the finals in England in 2015, scoring a try inside the first 30 seconds.


Mack becomes the third Canadian at the Ospreys, joining compatriots Tyler Ardron and Jeff Hassler who arrived at the Liberty Stadium earlier this summer.


“This contract comes as a reward of Phil’s consistent play over the summer in the Pacific Nations Cup and in the Rugby World Cup Qualifiers against USA,” said Steve Lancaster, High Performance Manager for Rugby Canada.