CRYMYCH rugby star Ifan Phillips has spoken of his pride at playing for regional club Ospreys, after his impressive performances were rewarded with a new professional contract.

The athletic 25-year-old hooker, who is a former pupil at Ysgol y Preseli, has put pen to paper on a deal which will keep him at the Liberty Stadium for at least the next two seasons.

Phillips - whose father Kevin played in one of Welsh rugby’s most famous front rows at Neath - has been involved with Ospreys for the past five years, after making his mark whilst playing for his home club Crymych, and in the Welsh Premiership for Neath RFC.

His standout performances caught the eye of the National set-up, where he went on to win a Grand Slam in 2016 with Wales U20s, before making his senior Ospreys debut off the bench in a 31-22 away win over Wasps in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in February 2017.

The Pembrokeshire star has gone onto make 30 appearances in an Ospreys jersey, and has scored five tries for the side so far, most recently crossing the whitewash in a stand-out Player of the Match performance against Cardiff Blues on New Year’s Day.

“It was an easy decision for me, this is a club going places and it’s exciting to see where we will end up in the next few years,” said Phillips, a former Coleg Sir Gar and Pembrokeshire College student.

“I haven’t done things the classic way by the Academy, I started with Crymych, went on to play for Carmarthen Quins and Neath, and got picked up by the Ospreys through playing there.

“I am pretty proud of that, it has been a tough journey, but I have enjoyed every moment of it."

Phillips added: “It’s been all about taking that opportunity when it’s given to you and running with it, Toby (Booth) always says to make sure you are ready, and that’s all you can do.

“We have four quality hookers here and competition throughout the squad, and that pushes everyone to be better everyday. Everyone is looking to progress, and is pushing to be the first-choice in the team - and we all push each other because of that, which is a big drive for us all.

“Hopefully I can play here, have a few more starts, and the end goal is to play for Wales, but for now I am just taking every week as it comes, trying to play as well as I can, and to keep taking the opportunities I am given.”

Toby Booth, Ospreys’ head coach, said he had been impressed by some really good performances by Phillips for the region this season.

“His emotional connection to the Ospreys through his father comes through every time he pulls the shirt on,” said Booth. “Those ingredients certainly add to your squad, both on and off the pitch, which is very exciting.”