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Ospreys capture Tebaldi

Sat, 02 Mar 2013 13:37
Tito-tebaldi2 Kahn-fotuali_i Tito-tebaldi
I have seen at close quarters how he challenges fringe defenders
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Welsh franchise Ospreys have announced the signing of Italian international scrumhalf Tito Tebaldi on a two-year contract.

The 25-year-old has been capped 16 times by his country and currently plays for Italian side Zebre.

He will replace Samoan scrumhalf Kahn Fotuali'i, who is set to join English Premiership club Northampton next season.

"I am excited about this fantastic opportunity with the Ospreys," said Tebaldi.

"Their record in the Pro12 speaks for itself, and the chance to be a part of such a successful club is something I couldn't turn down."

He is well known to current Ospreys backs coach Gruff Rees, who spent time in Italy working with Tebaldi as a coach at Aironi.

"I've worked with Gruff Rees before, at Aironi, and It'll be great to work with him again along with the other coaches at the Ospreys.

"I'm looking forward to a new challenge in a competitive environment that will help me to improve as a player and a person while hopefully contributing to the continued success of the Ospreys."

Tebaldi has been a regular in the Pro12 since the arrival of the Italians into the league three seasons ago, featuring consistently for both Aironi and now Zebre.

In total, he made 47 appearances for Aironi over two seasons of Pro12 and Heineken Cup rugby, scoring 93 points including four tries, and was ever present in the league during 2011/12. To date this season he has made a total of 16 appearances for Zebre, the new Italian franchise, scoring 22 points (four tries).

Rees believes that the new signing will prove to be a huge asset for the region next season.

"Having worked with him previously I've no doubt whatsoever that Tito will be a great addition to the Ospreys squad," he commented.

"Close observers of the Welsh game will have witnessed his man of the match performances at Rodney Parade and Parc Y Scarlets in the past two seasons, whilst he has been a standout performer on both his Liberty Stadium appearances including scoring a try here in January when we had to fight all the way to win by just one point.

"From personal experience, I have seen at close quarters how he challenges fringe defenders and has a top class kicking game with a fantastic defensive understanding and work rate. He is an impressive character with a burning desire to succeed and willingness to drive himself and others relentlessly.

"He hasn't always got the recognition he deserves because his desire hasn't always endeared himself to others in Italian rugby, meaning he hasn't truly established himself as much as his ability merits. However, this move can be a real opportunity for Tito and I feel he will add a real presence to the group and create great competition with our two gifted young Welsh nines. He is coming here for the right reasons and I have a lot of respect and trust for both his talent and character.

"We've got a proud track record here of identifying players that we can work with and improve, individuals like Tommy Bowe, Filo Tiatia and even Kahn Fotuali'i, and it is this environment which helped convince Tito to move to the Ospreys."

Andy Lloyd, Rugby Operations Manager at the Ospreys, added: "The addition of Tito to the squad for next season is great news for the region. He is a vastly under-rated player whose profile fits with our strategy of bringing in quality individuals with the right desire and attitude, who can help to improve our options, bringing the best out of those around him while striving to continue their own personal development.

"Like previous signings that have thrived in our environment and become better players, he may be coming in very much under the radar, but he matches the ambition which we have as a region to continue leading the way and competing at the very highest level.

"Tito is an intelligent player who is capable of operating in more than one position and offers another goal-kicking option. We are looking forward to welcoming him to Ospreylia in the summer where he will compete with, and supplement, the young, talented Welsh scrum halves we already have available to us at the Ospreys."

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