Ospreys sign up lock Thornton

Date published: August 1 2015

The Ospreys have announced that 20-year-old second-row Rory Thornton has put pen to paper on his first professional contract with the region.

Currently with the national training squad preparing for this year's Rugby World Cup, the 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, he has been capped by Wales U18 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.

"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," Thornton told the Ospreys website.

"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."