The Ospreys have confirmed the signing of Welsh international hooker Mefin Davies to a two year deal.
Capped 39 times by his country, the vastly experienced Davies will rejoin the Ospreys, for whom he played six times during the 2004/05 season, at the end of the current campaign.
Davies has been in outstanding form for Leicester Tigers in the Guinness Premiership this season, proving to be an influential figure for the league leaders. In total, he has made 51 appearances for the Tigers since signing in 2007, scoring two tries, and won the 2009 Premiership title. Prior to moving to Welford Road, he spent two seasons at Gloucester. Davies came to prominence in the mid nineties with Dunvant, before moving on to Neath and then Pontypridd.
At the onset of regional rugby he represented Celtic Warriors, before switching to the fledgling Ospreys at the start of 2004/05, his debut coming as a replacement in an early season 39-3 win over Cardiff Blues at the Gnoll. His international debut came on the 2002 summer tour to South Africa, with the undoubted highlight of his career coming in 2005 when he featured in every game of Wales' historic Grand Slam campaign.
Renowned for his ability as a scrummager, Davies will arrive at the Liberty Stadium with a reputation for assisting in the development of front-row colleagues, and will spend time away from the pitch working with up and coming Ospreys.
Speaking about the move to the Ospreys today, Davies said:
"I'm coming home to Wales and I'm really looking forward to it. The possibility of a move to the Ospreys caused long discussions with my family, and we just feel that it's a great opportunity that has come at the right time for me. It's a good move for me rugby-wise, and personally it makes sense. I'm looking forward to working again with the likes of Scott Johnson and Andrew Hore who have been inspirational to me in the past. I've had a good look at the set-up in place, which is brilliant, it's really impressive. I'm really excited about being involved with the Ospreys again, it looks a great place to be and I can't wait to report for duty in pre-season.
"I've had a good spell at Leicester and I've really enjoyed my rugby, particularly this season so I'll have mixed emotions about moving on. We've been doing well and I've been playing regularly, starting games, and between now and the end of the season I want to go out on a high before making the move back to Wales.
"All my best work has been done over the years when I've been working with young guys who are keen to learn, and I've no doubt that there will be plenty of opportunities for me to help with player development while I'm here. It's great to work with someone with real potential and to help them develop, to realise that potential. There are some good young front row players coming through at the Ospreys that I'm looking forward to working with. Over the years I've been fortunate to work with with, and learn from, some top players and coaches, and I've been able to build up quite a bit of experience and knowledge. If I can use that now to help benefit Welsh rugby then that's what I'll do."
Ospreys Elite Performance Director, Andrew Hore, explained the reasoning behind the region's move for Davies:
"Mefin is still performing at the highest level week-in, week-out and will be an asset to the Ospreys on the pitch. More importantly though, as a region that believes strongly in the development of Welsh talent, we see the biggest advantage of him being here is that he is coming to assist in the development of others. We see Mef' as having some exceptional strengths that will assist in the long-term development of some of the young front row players that we have here. He is extremely well known, and highly regarded, in professional rugby circles for the passion he has for the set-piece, and for his ability to bring out the best in those around him. Because he is so passionate about it, that enthusiasm lifts others.
"Mefin is also a very good team man, he is selfless in the team environment and is an ideal role model on and off the pitch, not only for our aspiring young players, but also for some of the more established players in the group. With the wealth of knowledge and experience he has, not to mention the top level ability on the field, it's a great signing that we believe will have long term benefits to the region via the development of our front row players."
Ospreys Managing Director, Mike Cuddy added "Having first signed Mefin when he joined Neath from Dunvant in 1997, I'm well aware of the assets he brings to any team he plays for. I'm delighted that he has opted to return to the region for next season and I'm looking forward to seeing him pulling on an Ospreys shirt again."