Back row forward JORDAN COLLIER has called time on life as a professional rugby player, started a new job and will play for Neath next season.
The Tonmawr product who lives in Cimla has relinquished his place in the Ospreys academy and commenced full-time employment with the Land Registry on April 25th.
He has committed himself to the Welsh All Blacks who rate him as an outstanding prospect – so much so in fact that, at the tender age of 20, he has already captained Neath several times and was vice-captain to Nicky Downs in 2015/16.
Neath coach Gareth Llewellyn said, “We fully understand Jordan’s reasons for making the career move. It is a pity in many ways as he has a lot to offer and could, I feel, have made it in the pro game.
“At the same time, there is no denying that it is great news that he will be staying local and he will now be available to us to train and play on a regular basis.
“Jordan has played quite a lot for us along with other Academy youngsters and they would have been happ’y for him to carry on next season when it has been confirmed that Keiran Williams, Luke Price, Reuben Morgan-Williams, Josh Cole and another emerging flanker Charlie Davies have been allocated to us.
“Jordan has already proven himself to be an excellent leader and he sets a tremendous personal example to those around him which is why he led the side often ahead of more experienced players. We have a good crop of back-rowers with Jordan, Josh, Leon Ward and Calum Davies all much the same age.
“Our pack began to come to grips with the Division at the end of the season and it is important that this improvement continues because it is much easier for everyone, not least the back-row, to play on the front foot.
“Jordan is central to our plans – he is a Neath man through and through and will be at the heart of our effort to get the Club back on track.”
Jordan Collier said, “I am grateful to everyone at The Ospreys and thank everyone for the time I’ve had there. Now I’m glad to have my immediate future sorted both work-wise and rugby-wise. After missing much of the season just ended with a broken ankle, I can’t wait for pre-season training to start.”
** Meanwhile, Neath confirm the departure of two players:
Scrum-half RHODRI COLE has decided to link with Llanelli. Pontardawe product Rhodri arrived at The Gnoll last year from Glynneath and immediately showed great promise but he has been blighted by injury, two knee operations restricting him to 30 appearances in all with just 6 starts in 2015/16.
A full recovery should see Rhodri’s talent blossom and he feels that his professional ambitions will be better served in the Scarlets region as The Ospreys have a batch of emerging scrum-halves already.
Hooker IEUAN DOBBS is also moving on. The Pontyclun fireman has become a popular figure at The Gnoll where he has made 46 appearances over three seasons. Always a dependable and lively performer, “Dobbsy” will be 33 at the start of next season.
He has packed a lot of Premiership experience into his much-travelled career but, with another hooker arriving to compete with Sion Crocker and Aled Morris, his opportunities would have been limited.
Neath supporters will be sorry to see these favourites go but all can rest assured that the Club will always reserve a warm welcome for them when they return.