The Ospreys have secured four of the brightest young talents in Welsh rugby on their first development contracts.
Teenagers Charlie Davies (Tonmawr RFC, Cwrt Sart Comprehensive and Neath Port Talbot College), Phil Jones (Fall Bay RFC, Gowerton Comprehensive), Will Jones (Penclawdd RFC, Gowerton Comprehensive and Gower College Swansea) and Reuben Morgan Williams (Neath Athletic RFC, YGG Ystalyfera and Neath Port Talbot College) are the quartet that have been rewarded for their progress to date, and who will now take the next step along the regional development pathway.
Dan Griffiths, Elite Youth Development Manager, Ospreys Rugby, offered congratulations to each of the four players on securing development contracts, with a word of caution that the hardest work still lies ahead.
“Charlie, Phil, Will and Reuben, along with their families and all the coaches who have been part of their development should take enormous pride that they have secured development contracts with their region” he said.
“This is recognition of the hard work and sacrifice they have put in to get this point, and all four are players with huge potential to become fully fledged Ospreys.
“They are in an environment where development from within is truly valued and they’ll get all the support they need to enable them kick on to the next stage of their development, but they need to understand that there’s an awful lot of hard work in front of them if they are to make the next step.
“Each one of them have shown they have the right character and attitude to go with their playing abilities and we wish them all the best of luck as they look to become the next generation of players to graduate from the development pathway into senior regional and international rugby.”
The winner of this season’s Most Improved Elite Youth Development Player, Reuben Morgan Williams is an 18-year old scrum half who has already stepped up to play Principality Premiership rugby this season with Neath. A key member of Wales’ Grand Slam winning U20 team despite still being eligible for the U18 squad, he will head to Manchester as part of the Welsh squad for the World Rugby Junior Championship next month.
With his pace, ability to scan quickly and find space, Reuben brings a real attacking threat around the ruck area and in loose play, as well as being brave and hardworking in his defensive roles. He’s been able to transfer some outstanding work put in on the training pitch and gym on to the field this season and has been rewarded for that effort.
Outside half Phil Jones is another 18-year old who is already playing senior rugby, with Swansea RFC.
Mature beyond his years, he is a natural communicator and a diligent, hard working individual who has bounced back from a difficult season of injury (broken jaw) to play for Wales at U18 and contribute significantly to Swansea's promotion to the Premiership.
Constantly putting in the hard work required to develop his technical and tactical game, he has aspirations of following in the footsteps of Dan Biggar and Sam Davies, who both came through the ranks of the regional development pathway via Gowerton Comprehensive and Swansea RFC before making their Ospreys bow.
Will Jones is an 18-year old open side flanker. A natural leader, he has captained the Ospreys at U16 and U18 and now Wales at U18 level this season, using his communication skills, game awareness and physicality to inspire players around him.
His background in elite level judo gives him a real point of difference in contact and around the tackle area which, combined with his rugby intelligence, makes him an exciting prospect as a compact, modern day seven.
Number eight, Charlie Davies, is the youngest of the four, still three months shy of his 18th birthday.
Also part of this season’s Wales U18 squad, he is a hardworking 'grafter' with an appetite for work who brings a real competitive, abrasive edge with his hunger to carry and tackle. Young in his age group, he has the raw materials and attitude to develop into a well-rounded back rower.