The Ospreys have handed a development contract to Swansea RFC centre Aled Jenkins after he impressed with his consistency in the Premiership despite the All Whites’ struggles.
The 24 year old has played 50 games over the last three seasons for Swansea and scored 10 tries, with his pace and physical edge catching the eye. His form for the St Helens club last season saw him rewarded with both the Young Player of the Year and the Social Media Player of the Year awards.
He follows on from Bridgend open side Lloyd Evans who has also signed a contract with the region.
Andy Lloyd, Recruitment and Retention Manager at the Ospreys, said that the signing sends out a clear message to players in the Premiership about the opportunities available on the Ospreys pathway if they show the right desire and attitude.
"We're really pleased to have Aled joining the Ospreys ahead of the new season” said Lloyd.
“He's another example of a player who is plying his trade in the Premiership, doing really well and making a good name for himself. It's really important to us to constantly monitor the talent that's there in the league and look to see who can fit with what we're trying to do as an organisation.
“He's been around the environment for a while now, gaining some valuable experience within the group, and he's always applied himself really well. He's got a good physical profile, runs good attacking lines and is developing his skill set as well.
“We feel there's some room for growth in Aled, and that with a full time programme he can really add to our midfield options. That won’t necessarily be in the short term as there's a few issues we’ll have to work our way through, but if he continues in the same vein he has shown over the last couple of seasons he will have opportunities.
“As with Lloyd Evans, Aled is a young man who has handled the disappointment of missing out on age-grade selection and shown that there is another way to earn yourself an Ospreys contract. The door is never closed to you if you have the ability and the attitude.”
Six footer Jenkins, who played his junior rugby with Mumbles RFC, is understandably delighted to have the chance to sign his first Ospreys contract:
"Having grown up watching Swansea RFC, and then the Ospreys when the game went regional, it's a big deal for me to now be able to pull on the jersey of my home region and a team I have grown up supporting” he explained.
“Playing in the Premiership has been a big learning curve for me. I fell through the net at age grade, but I wouldn't complain or change it at all, it's made me the player I am today.
“The Whites didn't have a great season last year so it's been tough at times but to be noticed for how I'm playing the game from that is fantastic and a good boost to my confidence.
“I'm really grateful to have been given this opportunity and I've got to grab it with both hands and give it everything I've got. I'm looking forward to getting into the professional game, taking this opportunity and giving it a real go.”