Tito Tebaldi will arrive in Ospreylia for pre-season training this summer aiming to make the most of what he describes as "the chance of my life".
Tito Tebaldi will arrive in Ospreylia for pre-season training thissummer aiming to make the most of what he describes as "the chance of my life".
The 25-year old Italian international signed a two-year deal with the region in March and will meet his new team-mates next month, linking up once again with Ospreys Backs Coach Gruff Rees, who he worked with during the 2011/12 season when they were both with Aironi.
Making a flying visit to the region's Llandarcy training base to familiarise himself with his new surroundings Tebaldi looked ahead to life as an Osprey, saying it was a fantastic opportunity for him.
"It is the chance of my life" Tebaldi said.
"It's a dream for me to be coming to play for the Ospreys. I'm very lucky that Gruff knows me from Aironi and has given me the opportunity to come and work with him and the other coaches here. It's a fantastic opportunity for me to improve my rugby life and I'm very excited about the next two seasons.
"I've looked around the facilities, where we'll be working every day and it's perfect for training and getting the best out of players. I know from playing against the Ospreys that there are some great players here and I can't wait for the start of pre-season, to come along to training and being a part of this squad."
Tebaldi made 21 appearances for Zebre last season, scoring four tries, after scoring 93 points in 47 games for the now defunct Aironi, and he will bring a high work rate, a strong defensive game and a good tactical understanding, combined with what Gruff Rees describes as "a real intensity and desire to succeed".
Part of that desire, according to Tebaldi himself, is to ensure he represents his team's supporters to the best of his ability, an approach he says he'll be bringing with him to the Liberty Stadium.
"Every time I play rugby, I play for something" he said.
"It's not just for me and my career, it's for the supporters and I hope to bring Ospreys supporters many happy moments when I play for their team.
"Moving to another country to play is a big challenge for me, as a rugby player and as a person. It's a very exciting challenge and I'm really looking forward to it. I've played at the Liberty Stadium and I know what a fantastic ground it is, so to call it home for the next two years is pretty special.
"It's a very nice place to live as well, I think I will feel very much at home with the Ospreys."
Tebaldi will primarily compete with fellow scrum halves Rhys Webb, who is set to undergo surgery over the coming weeks on a knee injury sustained a fortnight ago against Leinster, and youngster Tom Habberfield next season and although his versatility has seen him also play at full-back and fly-half in the PRO12, he says he's looking forward to fighting for the number nine shirt:
"I think all teams need genuine competition in every position. It improves the level of the team. It's something that is very important and when I see the Ospreys team I see competition everywhere.
"I prefer to play at nine. Full-back is my second best position, and I have also played 10, but scrum half is my best position. That's the shirt I want to have on my back next season and the challenge will make me a better player."