ANOTHER OSPREYS SIGNS :: 04 Apr 07:14

Bishop becomes 10th Osprey to sign new contract

Ospreys Rugby are delighted to announced that Andrew Bishop has become the latest player to sign a new contract with the region.

27-year old Bishop is the 10th player to commit their future to the Ospreys in recent weeks, putting pen to paper on a three-year deal which runs until the summer of 2016.

Having made his debut for the Ospreys against Borders as a 19-year old back in February 2005 Bishop has been an almost constant fixture in the Ospreys team-up ever since, playing a big part in four league wins and touching down at Twickenham to help the Ospreys secure the EDF Energy Cup with victory over Leicester Tigers in 2008.

He currently tops the all-time appearance list for the Ospreys with 188 (10 tries), sitting two ahead of Jonathan Thomas, with Duncan Jones a further two appearances behind. In addition, he has played 16 times for Wales since his debut on the 2008 South Africa tour, his latest coming against the Barbarians last June.

Speaking about his new contract, Bishop was understandably delighted to have secured his future at the region:

“I’m really happy about this”said Bishop.

“It’s great news, I want to stay with the Ospreys which is a great place to be and is where I’ve played all my senior rugby.

“There’s a very good squad here with competition for places right through it. There are a huge amount of youngsters in the squad, so I’m in a strange position where at 27 I’m one of the oldest backs here.

“It’s an honour to be able to take a senior role in the group and to help the young players coming through. It’s something I really enjoy doing and I take great pleasure from seeing how well these guys do as they come through into the team.

“When you look at the players who’ve come through over the last couple of years and the boys coming through now I’m really excited about the future of the Ospreys and I’m delighted that I’m going to be a part of it.”

Andy Lloyd, Rugby Operations Manager at the Ospreys, paid tribute to Bishop, saying:

“Andrew epitomises everything we want in an Osprey. He is the ultimate professional and is a great player for the youngsters to work with and learn from as he applies himself diligently in everything he does.

“He has represented the Ospreys 188 times, more than anybody else which, at the age of 27 and being a relatively young man still, says it all about his commitment and durability. He’s a world-class defender, and that side of his game has been widely recognised, but I think there’s more to him than just that, he’s offered a real attacking threat this season as well.

“It’s great that we’ve secured his services for another three years. An outstanding professional and role model to younger players coming through, our environment will be the better for his continued presence over the coming years.”

Currently sidelined as he recovers from surgery last month to resolve a disc issue in his back, Bishop remains positive about his chances of returning to action before the end of the current campaign to help the last push for the play-offs:

“I haven’t given up hope of playing again this season. If we make the top four that gives me more time and I’d love to be involved, lending my experience to the cause.

“I’ve been pretty lucky throughout my career with injury. This is the first proper injury I’ve had so I’m just looking forward to getting over it now and getting back playing. Having the most Ospreys caps is something I’m proud of, so with JT and Duncan breathing down my neck that’s an extra incentive to get back out there and keep hold of that record.”

Dan Biggar, Richard Fussell, Tom Grabham, Tom Isaacs, Duncan Jones, Rhys Webb, Joe Bearman, Lloyd Peers and James King have all signed new contracts recently, while the signing of Italian international Tito Tebaldi has also been confirmed for next season.