Former Wales U20 captain Will Jones has signed his first professional contract with the Ospreys.
The 19-year old openside – who has played 10 games for the region this season – has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign featuring in both the Guinness PRO14 and European Champions Cup.
He is the second youngster to secure a professional deal in recent weeks, following on from scrum half, and fellow-Wales U20 representative, Reuben Morgan-Williams.
Jones, who came through at Penclawdd RFC and Gowerton Comprehensive, said: “I’m very happy, obviously. I’ve been here since the U16s and this is the next step. I’m really proud to have been involved with the senior team this season but now I’ve got an opportunity to really establish myself with my home region.
“It’s been an unbelievable experience for me over the last few months, playing for the Ospreys against the likes of Munster, Saracens and Clermont but I’ve really enjoyed it. When you have a taste of it, you want more so I need to make sure I build on this and keep taking my opportunities when they come my way.”
Identified as someone with leadership qualities at a young age, Jones captained the region at age-grade level, including leading the U18 team to the title in 2015 while still only 16 years old, and he joins team-mates from that squad Keelan Giles, Reuben Morgan-Williams and Owen Watkin in signing a professional contract.
The Swansea University student also captained Wales at U18 level, before stepping up to U20s last season, captaining his country at the U20 Six Nations and Junior World Cup. A regular in the Premiership Select side competing in the British & Irish Cup over the last two seasons with nine appearances, he stepped up to captain the team in the opening three rounds of fixtures this campaign before graduating into the senior set-up.
“Will is a confident character and natural leader” said Dan Griffiths, rugby general manager at the Ospreys.
“He has really stepped up to mark since his introduction to the senior team, and despite being a young man has brought real physicality. His background in elite level judo gives him a point of difference in contact and around the tackle area which, combined with his rugby intelligence, makes him an exciting prospect as a compact, modern day seven.
“With his future as an Osprey secure, he can now focus on continuing his development, focusing on the detail of day-to-day life as a professional that will allow him to thrive in this environment.”
In addition to Jones and Morgan-Williams signing their first professional contracts, Owen Watkin, Olly Cracknell and Adam Beard have also signed new deals while Wales backs Aled Davies and Scot Williams have also been confirmed as joining the region this summer.