James extends contract with Ospreys

Thu, 21 Jul 2016 08:51
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NEWS: Wales international front-row forward Paul James has signed a fresh contract with the Ospreys.

The prop's initial deal was set to expire following the 2016-17 Pro12 campaign, but he is now committed to the region until 2018. 

"I'm very happy about signing a new contract with my home region. The Ospreys mean a lot to me and I'm enjoying being back home and being involved with a young squad that I think can do really well this season," James said.

"The first couple of weeks will be massive for us. We've got two home games against Italian sides, and three away in Ireland, for the first five games, and if we can get off to a good start it will put us in a good position to build on for the rest of the season."

James made his regional debut as a 21-year old in the Ospreys' first-ever competitive fixture, at the Gnoll against Ulster in September in 2003. 
 
He became only the third ever Ospreys centurion exactly five years after his debut in September 2008, against Connacht, and was the first to reach 150 appearances for the region. He departed the Ospreys for Bath at the end of 2011/12 season, the final game in his first spell at the region being the PRO12 Final victory over Leinster at the RDS, his and the Ospreys fourth league title.

At that time, he was top of the region's all-time appearance list on 180 and, having returned to the Ospreys last year following three years in England.

He is now just six games off his double century and sits fifth on the list.

A former Wales Under-21 captain, James was awarded his first senior international cap in the summer of 2003 in a pre-Rugby World Cup game against Romania in Wrexham.

"Paul has been an outstanding servant for the Ospreys and is still an important, influential squad member who has a big part to play if we are going to be successful over the next two years," said Steve Tandy, Ospreys head coach.

"We have some great options at loose head with the like of Nicky Smith, Ryan Bevington and Gareth Thomas pushing for a place, but Paul, with his professionalism, durability and never say die attitude, will have no intention of giving up his shirt without a fight, which is exactly how it should be."

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