Ospreys Rugby are delighted to confirm that 20-year old second row, Rory Thornton, has signed his first professional contract with the region.
Currently with the national training squad preparing for this year’s Rugby World Cup, the former Bonymaen RFC youngster has committed to his home region for the next three years, signing a deal which runs until the end of the 2017/18 season.
The latest product of the regional development pathway, the ex-Cefn Hengoed pupil has represented Gower College Swansea, Swansea RFC and Bridgend, as well as the Ospreys age-grade teams. Capped by Wales U18 in in 2012/13, he was also crowned Elite Youth Development Player for that year at the region’s end of season dinner, before helping Swansea University to Varsity success in 2014.
Having stepped up to Wales U20 level the following season he enjoyed a rapid progression in 2014/15, making his senior Ospreys debut against Saracens at the Gnoll in the LV= Cup last November, going on to feature seven times in total.
He captained Wales U20s throughout this year’s Six Nations and World Championship, with his progress being recognised by a call-up to the World Cup training squad.
After signing his new deal, Thornton said:
“Coming through the ranks at the Ospreys, this has always been my first goal, to sign a professional contract, so I’m really happy to have done that. For someone of my age, it’s a real achievement, something that I can be proud of.
“Looking back at the last year, it’s been really incredible. Last summer I would have said that I was hoping to train with the senior team and get some LV games but it’s been far better than I could have hoped for, playing in the PRO12 semi-final, captaining Wales and everything. Making my first PRO12 start up in Edinburgh was tough, it showed me how high the required standard is if I’m going to play regularly, but it also gave me a taste and I want to play more for the Ospreys.
“I know that I’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of me and that I can’t take anything for granted. This is my home region so I get a buzz from being involved, training with people like Alun Wyn Jones, and getting some incredible experience that will hopefully allow me to kick on from here over the next few years.”
Andrew Millward, Rugby General Manager, commented:
“Rory has shown over the last two seasons that not only does he have the potential to become a fully fledged Osprey, but he has the character and desire to make an impact in our environment.
“He is diligent, committed to pursuing excellence, and is what we would call rugby intelligent. With his obvious physicality, that makes for quite a combination.
“It’s been a good year for Rory and this contract is recognition of his progress so far but this can’t be enough for him. He has to continue working hard, continuing striving to be the best, challenging those around him, with the goal of playing regularly for the Ospreys. He knows he is in the best possible environment to help him achieve his goals and, hopefully, he has a long and successful Ospreys career in front of him.”