The Ospreys are delighted to announce that Bridgend flanker Lloyd Evans has signed a development contract with the region.
Openside Evans has been handed the deal after impressing with Bridgend Ravens in the Principality Premiership, before stepping up to feature for the region in last season's LV=Cup campaign.
Having missed out on selection for the region at age-grade level, the 23-year old has come through the ranks of club rugby, starting with Bridgend Athletic before moving on to the Ravens where he has played 32 times.
It's a pathway to regional rugby that the young player believes has helped him:
"I've really enjoyed playing in the Premiership. I have learnt a lot over the last three seasons and it has brought me on to play better rugby. The experience I've had has definitely helped me.
"I wasn't successful at the time in getting to play age grade rugby for the Ospreys but that inspired me to work hard to improve. Playing in a senior environment, I've really learnt the trade and come on a lot."
Having shone with the Ravens in the Principality, Lloyd's hard work and determination was rewarded when the chance came for him to step up and play in the LV=Cup for the region last season. He impressed after coming off the bench away to Exeter Chiefs and the Bridgend boy was the first choice to start when the Ospreys took on Sale Sharks at his home ground, the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field, a week later.
"I thought it was going to be a really big step up but when I came into training prior to the LV=Cup games last season the team were absolutely amazing and really guided me along the way" he added.
"Players like Duncan Jones and Joe Bearman helped so much with anything I needed like learning the line out calls.
"I'm really excited to have actually now signed for the Ospreys especially as they are my home region. Training and playing with guys of the calibre there is here is an amazing opportunity for me. I'm looking forward to knuckling down, getting into preseason, especially when the international boys come back, and just getting the chance to learn from all the players.
Andy Lloyd, Recruitment and Retention Manager, commented on the signing:
"Lloyd has come through the club system in the Bridgend area and he's another player that joins us after earning his stripes in the Premiership. He's very quick and athletic with the potential to become an outstanding rugby player.
"We saw what he can do when he played for us in the LV=Cup, where he put in two really strong performances. It's going to be great for him to have a full pre-season under his belt, with strength, conditioning and speed work. We see him as a player with a bright future ahead of him and it's great to have another young player from within the region joining the squad.
"We have invested heavily in our development pathway to ensure that there are avenues for players to progress to regional level whatever their background and whether they are early or late developers. Players like Lloyd, who miss out on age-grade selection, are aware that if they knuckle down and keep working hard to develop on and off the field, then there is still a route for them to follow. If you perform consistently at Premiership level we are watching closely and you will get your chance."
As the international series take centre stage, the soaring Ospreys will use the fortnight's Guinness PRO12 break to take stock from their lofty position as the unbeaten leaders. They will not allow themselves to fall into the trap of sitting back and admiring the view, writes Peter Jackson.