Planet Rugby



Promising centre commits to Ospreys

01st March 2014 10:22


ben john ospreys

Extension: Ben John

The Ospreys have announced that talented centre Ben John is the latest player to commit his future to the region.

John, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Friday, has signed a two-year contract that runs until 2016.

A product of the region's elite development pathway, the former Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr pupil's early rugby days were spent at Loughor RFC. He then represented his home region at age-grade level before graduating to the Principality Premiership with Aberavon, scoring seven tries in 57 matches for the Wizards.

Capped at all Wales age-grade levels, he went to the 2010 Junior World Championships in Argentina, just months after making his Ospreys debut in an LV= Cup win over Leeds Carnegie at the Liberty Stadium.

2013 proved to be a breakthrough year for the skilful centre, beginning with his Heineken Cup debut out in Treviso. He has now made 33 Ospreys appearances, scoring three tries, with 17 of those games coming this season.

His last appearance was in the Heineken Cup defeat out in Leinster in January, where he suffered nerve damage to his shoulder, and he is targeting a return to action in the final month of the current season.

"I'm really pleased about this," said John.

"I believe it's the right decision for me, the only decision really. This is my home region and I love it here. It's the team I've always wanted to play for and I'm fortunate enough to have learned so much in this environment.

"2013 was huge for me, a massive learning curve. I've been able to get some great experience over the last year and this season I've been able to play more at centre, which I've really enjoyed. Now I've managed that, I want to push on and improve as a player, improve in that position, and really establish myself.

"There are some very good centres in the squad who all seem to be playing really well. It's good for my development that they have different strengths, which allows me to pick up different things, but now I want to challenge for a place regularly."

"It's very good news that a local, young talent like Ben will remain with us for the next two years," said Rugby Operations Manager, Andy Lloyd.

"He has really made a big breakthrough since the start of last year, and has started to show the wider Ospreylian public what we already knew here, which is that he can grow to be an influential figure in midfield.

"His early senior experiences with us saw him playing a lot on the wing but that accelerated his development and understanding of what we are trying to do as a back line and where we want to take our game over the next few seasons.

"The way in which he reads the game is changing, how he understands what is needed from a centre. In particular, how he can be effective as a team player, not only creating things for himself but how he can bring others into the game. He's made good progress, albeit stunted by his recent injury, but we expect him to come back strongly and continue his progress.

"We have in place a strong group of backs, all of a similar age, that have come through our development system and want to achieve great things in an Ospreys shirt. With the right support, on and off the field, they can really help to make this region stronger."

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