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Ospreys sign ex-England U20 international Phil Cokanasiga

By Josh Raisey
(Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

The Ospreys have announced the signing of Leicester Tigers centre Phil Cokanasiga ahead of next season.

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The 22-year-old younger brother of England international Joe has spent the last two seasons at Welford Road after signing from London Irish in 2022, featuring in nine games so far this season.

The former England U20 international will have to put his international aspirations on hold while he is based in the United Rugby Championship. Though he is not part of the Test picture currently, he was recruited by current England head coach Steve Borthwick while he was in charge of Leicester.

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“Signing for the Ospreys is an exciting next step in my career,” Cokanasiga said to the Ospreys after the move was announced.

“I’ve been keeping tabs on them this season and it’s great to see the performances they’ve been putting in, despite having a young squad.

“After speaking with Toby, one thing that was made clear to me was the team’s ambition and how I would fit in to that. I’m looking forward to getting started and making the most of this opportunity, with a team that has the history of the Ospreys.”

Ospreys head coach Toby Booth added: “Phil is a talented player with lots of potential who we believe will be an excellent addition to our squad next season. Adding some exciting talent and physicality in our midfield whilst adding to our strength in depth is vital in our progress.

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“We have been developing our attacking game and that requires certain attributes and skills. Phil will certainly improve our chances in continuing to grow in this area.”

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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