Ospreys Rugby have confirmed that Hanno Dirksen has signed a new two-year deal with the region, making him the 16th member of the senior squad to re-sign in 2019.
Dirksen has been in the region for 10 years, arriving from his hometown of Krugersdorp in South Africa as an 18-year old in the summer of 2009, via Tennessee, USA, and Truro, Cornwall.
The winger’s tally of 38 tries from 136 games is the fourth highest in Ospreys history, bettered only by Rhys Webb (39), Dan Evans (44) and Shane Williams (57), having moved ahead of Tommy Bowe and Nikki Walker in the pecking order during 2018/19.
Dirksen has enjoyed a busy off-season, with his wife Jenny giving birth to their second daughter, but having put pen to paper on his new deal, the 28-year old winger reflected on his status as a senior player having been at the Ospreys for a decade.
“It’s crazy how quick the time goes” said Dirksen.
“It’s nice to be here for another pre-season, another couple of years. There’s a new batch of boys coming in who are the same age I was when I got here, it’s nice to see fresh faces. I hope that I can help them develop, in the way that players like Shane, Tommy or Richard Fussell helped me when I was a youngster.
“I have a family here now and it’s nice to be settled in Swansea so I don’t want to be playing rugby anywhere else. Looking ahead, it’s important we kick-off the season like we finished off, get a good couple of wins in before the boys come back from the World Cup. Hopefully we can have a good season and get involved in the knockouts of both competitions. Those are the games we want to be involved in.”
Dirksen made his Ospreys debut in a LV= Cup defeat to Bath in November 2009. His only other appearance that season, against Leeds at the Liberty Stadium, saw him mark his first start with his first try.
Armed with his first pro contract, signed at the start of 2011, Dirksen established himself in the senior squad during 2011/12, scoring eight tries in 25 games as he played a big part in the region’s fourth league title success.
Probably the best remembered moment of his career came in that season’s semi-final win, a stunning score versus Munster at the Liberty, before he started in the famous win over Leinster in the final.
He completed his century of Ospreys appearances against Connacht at the Liberty Stadium in January 2017, while his 100th Celtic League game was in April this year against Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, where his father Hansie, a South Africa U21 cap, played during the eighties.
Ospreys Head Coach, Allen Clarke, welcomed the re-signing of Dirksen, highlighting the impact he made last season:
“I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to secure Hanno on a new deal.
“I’ve a lot of respect for what Hanno has come through following a tough time with injury a few years ago. For me, he was one of our standout performers across the whole of last season.
“Because of his level of consistency he really earned the right to be selected in key matches and if you look at our big run of games, our last five, he was integral, scoring tries and carrying ball.
“He is a tremendous character within the squad and will continue to be a huge asset for us over the coming seasons.”
Senior players to have re-signed this year are:
Lloyd Ashley, Cory Allen, Matthew Aubrey, Dan Evans, Luke Morgan, Scott Otten, Ifan Phillips, Luke Price, Nicky Smith and Gareth Thomas
First professional contracts:
Will Griffiths, Dewi Lake, Harri Morgan, Morgan Morris and Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler
Gareth Anscombe, Gareth Evans and Carl Hogg (Forwards Coach)
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