The 25-year old loose head prop has put pen to paper on a four-year deal despite intense competition for his services, from both inside Wales and across the Severn Bridge, and he will remain at the Liberty Stadium until at least 2023.
Smith’s retention following huge speculation around his future is a significant coup for the Ospreys and provides a welcome boost in the build-up to this weekend’s big Heineken Champions Cup play-off against the Scarlets at the Liberty Stadium.
“I know it’s dragged out probably longer than I was hoping but I’m just happy that I’ve committed my future to my home Region” said Smith.
“It was always going to be Ospreys and Wales for me, I’m just happy that we’ve got the right deal and I’m looking forward to the next four years. It’s been a good season personally but there’s always room for improvement and I know there’s a lot I can work on so over these four years I can hopefully become a better player.
“We’ve got a big game at the weekend and I’m excited to hopefully be involved in it. It’s been a tough training week, the boys are firing shots at each other, but it’s all to get ourselves ready for a big game this Saturday to try and put the Ospreys where they should be, which is the top flight in Europe.”
A homegrown talent who came through the development pathway at the Ospreys, Smith progressed from Waunarlwydd RFC to the Ospreys via the age-grade structure and Swansea RFC (31 appearances).
Having made his debut as an 18-year old against the Dragons in an LV= Cup tie in January 2013, Smith has now appeared 106 times for the Ospreys, scoring five tries, his 100th game coming earlier this season against Pau in the Challenge Cup.
Now established as one of Europe’s leading loose heads, he has played 28 times for Wales and featured four times during this year’s Grand Slam campaign.
“I’m delighted that Nicky has committed to his home club for another four years” said Ospreys Head Coach, Allen Clarke.
“He’s a Swansea boy, he’s been here all his career, developing through the academy pathway to the Ospreys senior team, and now as an established International. Despite being comparatively young he has become a core player and a tremendous character within the squad.
“He has shown high level consistency at the top end of the game, not just in the set-piece but also in open-play, where his contribution is very much that of a modern day loose head prop. I’m looking forward, as I’m sure our supporters are, to seeing him continue to develop & perform for club and country.
“It’s important for us that we retain our home grown quality players. It not only reflects our determination in building a squad to win and compete for honours in the Guinness PRO14 & Europe; it also provides a clear pathway and example of what is possible to every young person who dreams of playing for the Ospreys and Wales. Re-signing Nicky until 2023 is another significant step forward by Ospreys Rugby on the journey to realising our ambition as a Region.”
Smith is the fourth Osprey secured for next season, after Cory Allen, Dan Evans and Luke Morgan signed new deals, and they will be joined at the Liberty by first choice Wales outside half, Gareth Anscombe, who signed for the Ospreys last month.
Current Scotland U20 head coach Carl Hogg, formerly head coach at Worcester Warriors, has also been appointed Forwards Coach and will report for duty at Llandarcy in pre-season.