Welsh international centre returns to Ospreys

Ospreys Rugby are delighted to confirm that centre Jonathan Spratt has re-signed for the region on a two-year deal from London Irish.

26-year old Spratt, a twice capped Wales international, returns to his home region after twelve months in the Aviva Premiership with Irish, for whom he made 11 senior appearances last season.

Born and bred in Neath, Spratt was capped at age-grade level and came to attention in the Welsh Premiership with the All Blacks, his form being rewarded with a call-up to regional rugby in November 2006 when he made his debut as a second-half replacement for the Ospreys against Munster at Thomond Park. He was handed a regional contract the following summer, ahead of the 2007/08 season, and went on to make 23 appearances for the region, scoring two tries.

The summer of 2008 saw Spratt go on loan to Taranaki where he gained rave reviews for his performances in the Air New Zealand Cup, and twelve months later he gained his senior Wales caps on the summer tour to North America, playing against Canada and USA.

After moving to London Irish last summer on an initial one-year deal, such was the impression Spratt made at the Madejski in his 11 appearances that in March he penned a two-year extension. However, following the departure of Head Coach Toby Booth and a number of his support team from Irish to Bath, Spratt has been allowed to head back to Ospreylia ahead of the new season.

Speaking after putting pen to paper on a contract that will keep him at the Liberty Stadium until the summer of 2014, Spratt said:

“I’m very excited to be back here. It’s where I’m from, I was brought up playing rugby in Ospreylia, so clearly when the opportunity arose to come back I jumped at the chance. Having spent a year at London Irish and gained some great experience, the changes there meant I had to consider my options and while I could have stayed, the prospect of rejoining the Ospreys and being part of what is a young and ambitious group is an exciting one. There’s nothing like playing for your home region in front of a big crowd at your home stadium.

“Working with Steve Tandy, Gruff Rees and Jonathan Humphreys is another big draw for me. Having played alongside Steve at Neath and the Ospreys, I know what he’s about, what his work ethic is, his passion for rugby in general and for the Ospreys in particular, and I’m really looking forward to the new season.

“I was fortunate enough to be able to have the experience of playing in the Aviva Premiership and the Heineken Cup at London Irish last season and I’m a better player for those experiences than I was 12 months ago. All any rugby player wants is to be able to cement a regular team place and that’s something I’m going to be striving towards over the next two years, to hopefully find myself in the Ospreys first fifteen. Competition is tough here but it’s up to me to prove myself.”

Ospreys Head Coach, Steve Tandy, welcomed Spratt home, saying:

“It’s good to be able to bring Jonathan back to his home region. He’s passionate about this place, loves the Ospreys and will be a real asset this season. He’s a skilful player who has always been underrated, with a good attitude, someone I know well from my time as a player in the same squad.

“He has gone out there and gained different experiences, playing in New Zealand as a youngster and then going to London Irish and showing that he can compete at Aviva and Heineken level, and he is going to be a valuable addition to the group.”