Young Ospreys pair Nicky Smith and Nicky Thomas returned to their former comprehensive school in Swansea to hand over a jersey signed by the squad at a special reception.
The teenage props are part of a trio of front row players, along with hooker Scott Otten, who have risen through the ranks on the development pathway, playing together at Pentrehafod Comprehensive School and for their club, Waunarlwydd RFC, before being selected for the Ospreys at regional age-grade level.
Part of a successful Pentrehafod team that won three Swansea Schools titles in four years, all three were named among the replacements for the Ospreys at senior level during November, with Thomas coming off the bench on three occasions.
The two Nicky’s handed over the signed jersey in front of a packed school hall with current pupils impressed to see two ex-Pentre boys now representing their local region, with the Liberty Stadium just half a mile away.
Speaking proudly after handing over the jersey, Thomas said:
“As en ex-Pentre pupil it’s great to be able to go back to school and present the shirt. I’ve had a fantastic month with the Ospreys but without the grounding I had in Pentrehafod it wouldn’t have been possible so to be able to say thanks like this is great.”
His team-mate Smith added:
“We are both proud to have gone to Pentrehafod, just as we are proud to be starting off our careers with the Ospreys, our region. It was really nice to go back and handover the jersey to say thanks to everyone there for the part they’ve played in my development.”
Regional Performance Development Manager, Andrew Millward, who has kept a close eye on the pair along with Otten – who was unable to attend the presentation due to university commitments – during their time on the development pathway, said it was important for any youngsters looking to make their mark with the region to remember where they have come from:
“Who you are and where you come from is a massive part of what you become as a player and it’s important that you never forget your roots. The two Nicky’s, and Scott, have come a long way together and it’s great for them to be able to go back to their old school, which is virtually in the shadows of the Liberty Stadium, and present a signed shirt.
“They can act as positive role models for the current pupils who may aspire to follow in their footsteps as future Ospreys. Although they all have a considerable way to go yet before establishing themselves as Ospreys, remembering their roots and staying grounded like this will help them achieve their goal.”