Wales prop Tomas Francis will swap Exeter for the Ospreys next season in order to continue his international career. Francis has signed a three-year deal to join the Welsh region knowing his current deal with the Chiefs is due to expire in the summer.

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The 28-year-old is eight caps short of the 60-appearance mark that under Welsh Rugby Union rules enables players to represent clubs outside the country and still be eligible for international selection.

A Grand Slam winner and World Cup semi-finalist with Wales, Francis, who is also a European Cup and English Premiership winner with Exeter, told the Ospreys website: “I spoke to the Welsh regions but I was impressed with the vision of head coach Toby Booth and where he wanted to take the Ospreys. 

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“His attention to detail and knowledge of my game and what he and Duncan Jones laid out to me was really appealing. The boys I know in the Wales squad all talked positively about what is happening at the Ospreys and it seems like a place that is heading in the right direction.

“The Ospreys just stood out to me as the region that is going places. I know a lot of the boys there from the Wales set-up and the squad has some talented youngsters sprinkled with some real experience and knowledge. I know there will be real competition for the shirt and we all need that as players.

“Signing for the Ospreys will allow me to continue to play for Wales, something I was not willing to give up but to do that I know I have to perform and earn my place with the Ospreys. Performing for the Ospreys will give me the opportunity to be selected for international rugby. I’m still ambitious and keen to keep improving and I see Ospreys as the perfect place to do that.”

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Coach Booth added: “In our new era and on the journey we are on, it is important to show both ambition and a desire to develop our own players. Signing a current international tighthead prop with a winning history and mentality will help the Ospreys make the steps we need to make and fuel the ambition now and for the long term future.

“He has won European and domestic honours and he will bring a wealth of experience and a massive set-piece capability to our squad. His qualities will prove invaluable going forward as we prepare for the new challenges presented by the new PRO16 competition.”

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