The Ospreys have handed Wales U20 centre Ben John his first professional contract.
Swansea born John has signed a three-year deal after coming through the development pathway at the region, playing his early rugby at Loughor RFC. He has gained exposure to Welsh Premiership rugby over the last two years with Aberavon, turning out 23 times for the Wizards.
Capped by Wales at all age-grade levels, he featured in the recent U20 Six Nations, starting two games, and will be hoping to make the cut for this summer’s Junior World Championships having been part of the Wales squad that reached fifth place in last year’s competition in Argentina.
Having just turned 20 in February, former Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr pupil John made his Ospreys debut 14 months ago, coming off the bench in the LV= Cup win over Leeds at the Liberty Stadium. He then had to wait until November for his next appearance, his first start, against Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park in the same competition.
Speaking after signing his first deal, John commented:
“I’m really excited about this. I knew that it was a big year for me as I was coming to the end of my development contract and I wanted to prove a couple of things and earn myself a professional contract.
“It’s a big confidence boost knowing that the coaches are happy with how I’m coming along and I’m really pleased that they think enough of me to give me this new contract. I’ve had a run of games this season for Aberavon and I think I did quite well, and I’ve had a little taste of rugby with the Ospreys in the LV= Cup.
“I have to make the next step up now. There’ll be a lot of boys away at the start of next season with the World Cup, so there will be a lot of opportunities for the younger players. Hopefully, I’ll be able to prove myself good enough to get some games, and then take my chance when it comes.”
Head Coach Sean Holley added:
“We’re delighted to be able to confirm Ben’s first pro contract. We’ve seen some real signs of quality from him, not just for Aberavon, but this year with the Wales U20’s and in our training environment.
“He a local lad, he already has a very professional attitude, he is diligent, and we’ve seen him fitting into the senior environment here quite seamlessly. We’re working hard on his physical and rugby development, but he has the intelligence and mental approach to compliment his obvious rugby ability, which should ensure he has a long and profitable future with the Ospreys.”