The Ospreys are delighted to confirm that Richard Hibbard has committed his long term future to the region by signing a new five year contract.
The 26-year old Welsh international hooker has put pen-to-paper on a deal that will see him remain at the Liberty Stadium until the end of the 2014/15 season at least.
Hibbard has been in outstanding form for the Ospreys this season, featuring in 18 of the 21 games to date and scoring three tries, taking his overall total for the region to 94 appearances (four tries). Capped nine times by Wales, his Ospreys debut came in September 2004 when he featured as a replacement in a 34-17 win over Munster at St Helen’s, with his first start coming in the return fixture in Cork three months later. His current contract still had another two years to run, so the decision to extend for a further three years is a clear indication of the faith that the Ospreys have in the player.
Speaking after signing his new contract, Hibbard said:
"I’m absolutely landed. I really do love it here, I think it’s a great place to play rugby. We’ve got everything in the right place to go where we want to go, from Johnno, Humph and Sean and their coaches, through to the fitness and physio teams. It’s a brilliant set-up and honestly, there’s nowhere else I’d want to be. I’ve been here since the end of the first season and the place just gets better each year as we keep on building, with this year the most exciting yet. It’s a fantastic place to be.
"The coaches selection policy here is quite clear, they don’t pick on name or reputation, they pick on form, and luckily enough my form has been good enough this season. It’s a tough battle to get a place in the starting fifteen here because of the high quality of hookers in the squad so I’m pleased to have been so heavily involved this season, and I know that I’ve got to maintain the high standard I’ve set if I’m going to keep my place.
"Given the length of the new contract, I’ve pretty much committed myself to the Ospreys for the rest of my career. I’m very happy to make that commitment, it’s my region, it’s where I come from and it’s where I’ve played all my rugby. Why would I want to go anywhere else? With the support I have here, I’ll continue working hard and hopefully that means I’l continue to develop my game. If I can do that, I’d like to think that I could get the reward of a regular place with Wales, especially with the World Cup coming up next year, that’s a big factor. I’m really happy with where I am at the moment so it’s happy days!"
Ospreys Forwards Coach, Jonathan Humphreys, commented:
"Richard is a local boy who’s played all his rugby, youth and junior, in the area for Taibach prior to joining the Ospreys in 2004. What Richard has proven is that he is a true international class hooker with his own unique style. He has worked hard to improve his lineout throwing and his scrummaging technique, which complements his obvious ball carrying qualities, and we have seen him really develop into a quality player in recent seasons. To commit to us for such a lengthy period as he has with this new contract shows that we have the set-up and environment here that players want to be involved in.
"We’re proud to have him, and I genuinely believe that his best years are still ahead of him. He fits well into our set-up, he gives us exactly what we want, and the five year contract is a real show of faith in Richard and his abilities from the Ospreys, and also, the faith that he has in us. Richard clearly believes in what we are trying to achieve here, and he is a very big part of that. We are delighted that he has agreed to this long term as it means that we will be able to call on the services of a quality, local player for another five years."