Nicky Smith will become the latest of the current crop of Ospreys to reach 50 appearances for the region when he runs out against Ulster at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday night.
- Former Pentrehafod Comprehensive School and Waunarlwydd RFC youngster will become latest to reach half century of games for the region this weekend
- Made his debut in an 18-14 LV= Cup defeat to the Dragons at Rodney Parade in January 2013
- PRO12 debut came 10 months later, with his first championship start in Round 1 of the 14/15 season
- 3 Wales caps, with international debut versus Fiji in November 2014
The 22-year old loose head, a graduate of the regional development pathway, will hit the half-century landmark three years and eight months on from his debut in an LV= Cup tie against the Dragons.
Only 18 at the time, Smith had to wait a further 10 months before appearance number two in November 2013, off the bench against Munster in the PRO12, with his first league start coming on day one of 2014/15.
Since then he has established himself as an important member of the squad, despite his youth, something that Head Coach, Steve Tandy, acknowledged today.
“Nicky is still very young for a prop so to reach 50 games at this point of his career is something he can proud of” said Tandy.
“He is someone who has come through our system, I remember coaching him when he was playing age grade rugby for the Ospreys, and his potential was always clear to see. He has a good mix of power and technique, and has already been able to get plenty of experience under his belt. He’s only going to keep improving if he continues working as hard as he has done to this point, following in the footsteps of some great loose heads to have worn the shirt over the years.
“With Paul James and Gareth Thomas here as well, the competition for the number one shirt is as strong as it has ever been, so Nicky knows he has to be at his very best every week if he wants to stay involved and that competition will help him keep growing as a player and a person.”
Looking ahead to his 50th appearance on Saturday night, Smith said:
“I’m really proud to get to 50 at this point. All I ever wanted to do was play for the Ospreys but I couldn’t ever imagine playing so many times, particularly when I’m still only 22.
“I’ve been lucky enough to learn from some great players like Duncan Jones who played more than 200 times for the Ospreys and Paul James who is almost on 200 games. If I can go on and do half of what they achieved in my own career then I know I’d have done very well.
“It’s important that we do the job on Saturday night against Ulster in what is going to be a really hard game as if we play like we did last weekend then my 50th won’t mean anything”