23-year old Bridgend Ravens full-back Jamie Murphy has been handed his first ever regional contract.
Murphy, a Pencoed RFC product, has been rewarded for his fine form in the Welsh Premiership with the Ravens and has put pen to paper on a deal that has seen him swapping life in a Bridgend call-centre for the harsh realities of pre-season at the Ospreys.
It completes a long and winding personal journey from Pencoed to the Ospreys for Murphy that has also seen him taking in a spell at Aberavon and a short professional career in rugby league en route to the Liberty Stadium.
Having represented Bridgend as a teenager in the Premiership, Murphy switched to the Talbot Athletic Ground following the Ravens relegation in 2009 to play for the Wizards.
In 2010 he switched codes to play for South Wales Scorpions, having played rugby league since his school days simultaneously with union, and scored 142 points in 37 games, including 14 tries. His form for the Scorpions saw him being offered development terms with the North Wales based Super League franchise Crusaders, but their demise led to him heading home to Bridgend for a return to the Brewery Field.
His form for Bridgend last season was such that last month he received the two main awards at the Ravens end of season presentation ceremony, picking up both the Supporters’ and Players’ Player of the Year after scoring 134 points in 28 games.
He also received a regional call-up in January for the Ospreys’ LV= Cup fixtures against the Dragons and Harlequins, playing the full 80 minutes in both games and making a positive impression on the coaching team at the region.
Speaking about being handed the opportunity to become a full-time Osprey, Murphy commented:
“I’m over the moon to be here. I just want to dig in and get a good pre-season under my belt. I was fortunate enough to be on the radar last season and play in the LV= Cup but I never imagined that I’d get a deal after just two games. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to show what I can do.
“My goal at the start of last season with Bridgend was regional rugby. I wrote down certain goals that I had for the season and one of them was to play for the Ospreys in the LV= Cup. It’s important to set goals for myself, and regional rugby was one of them. It’s the aim for every player in the Premiership; It has to be.
“I only gave up work a few weeks ago. This beats working 9-5, I realise how privileged I am to be in this position. We’ve been fitness testing over the first few days and the conditioning coaches have given me a tailored programme to help me get to where I need to be with their guidance.”
Andy Lloyd, Rugby Operations Manager at the Ospreys, said Murphy was an example to other players in the Welsh Premiership about what they can achieve:
“Jamie is someone who has taken his time to reach regional level and has probably got a more colourful story about how he has arrived here than most, but there is no doubt he deserves this opportunity.
“He’s an all-round, talented footballer that we’ve closely monitored over the last year or two. He’s what you’d call a good tradesman at 15 who understands rugby, has a good kicking game and he’s showed at Premiership level that he can beat players. He’s got physical potential as well that we feel we can develop further with full-time work in this environment, combined with a positive and diligent attitude towards improving himself.
“He had a good opportunity with us in the LV= Cup earlier this year and took it well. I know that he wants to make the most of this chance and we’ll support him all the way to give him the best possible chance of fulfilling his undoubted potential.
“This hopefully sends out a signal to other players in the Premiership that if you perform consistently at that level then you will be rewarded. We fully understand that not every player will develop in a text book way and progress through the age-grade system for many different reasons, but we are always looking at the talent that is out there and if we believe they have something to offer, we will give them that chance. Jamie has worked hard to get to this point, and bringing him into this environment on a full-time basis will hopefully allow him to kick-on from here and establish himself fully as an Osprey.”