Ospreys Rugby have announced that Keelan Giles has signed a new three year deal.
The 19-year old has been rewarded with a contract running until the summer of 2020 following a breakthrough season at his home region. Having come to public attention with Wales U20s last spring, he made his Ospreys bow at the start of last season, scoring a try on his debut off the bench in a 64-10 win over Benetton Treviso at the Liberty Stadium.
In a remarkable first campaign in the senior squad he quickly established himself as one of the most exciting young talents in the game, ending the season with 14 tries in 19 games, a tally bettered only once in Ospreys history, by Tommy Bowe in 2009/10.
The former Waunarlwydd RFC and Gowerton Comprehensive school flier was a late Wales senior call-up mid tour in summer 2016, joining Warren Gatland’s squad in 2016, before he had even made his Ospreys debut, after impressing with Wales U20 at the Junior World Cup. He was then selected in the squad for the November internationals and this summer’s games against Samoa and Tonga, but is still awaiting his first cap.
“I’m really grateful to the Ospreys for the faith they’ve shown in me with this new contract” said Giles after putting pen to paper.
“The last 12 months has been incredible for me personally. If you’d asked me this time last year I could never have imagined it would have gone like it did. My ambition last summer was to simply make a mark in training and hopefully do enough to get some Anglo Welsh game time maybe.
“It’s been brilliant, but I know that I can’t start thinking I’ve made it. There’s a lot of work still ahead of me to make sure my development last season isn’t wasted but I know I’m in the best environment to make sure I reach my full potential.”
Ospreys head coach, Steve Tandy, welcomed the news, saying that everybody at the region understood the importance of securing the services of young talent like Giles.
“This is great news to start the season off” said Tandy.
“Credit has to go to the development arm of the business for the work they’ve done with another young, local talent. Keelan also has to take credit for his application, hard work and the level of detail he goes into with his learning, leaving nothing to chance in his personal progression.
“His potential is clear to see, he excites supporters and coaches with his genuine pace and eye for the line, but he’s also incredibly brave as anyone who has watched him would testify.
“He handled last season very well. It’s difficult when you come through into the senior scene and do so well, as that brings with it a massive expectation to deliver every match, which is harsh on a teenager but he stepped up and really showed what he can do.
“We are proud of the youngsters we bring through but the rising cost of keeping hold of those players means we can be victims of our own success in many ways. If you look at Keelan, 15 months ago he was a young hopeful on a development contract, know he is a first team regular and Wales squad member on his second pro contract. Even though it becomes a balancing act with budgets we are committed to retaining the best young players from our development pathway and Keelan definitely fits that description.”
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