Fullback Mat Protheroe has signed a two-year deal to join the Ospreys next season.
The Swansea-born back three player, who can also play fly half, is currently with English club side Bristol Bears.
Protheroe won a scholarship to the famous Hartpury College as a teenager and represented England at U18 and U20 level. He scored seven tries in 14 games for Hartpury RFC in National League One in England in 2015.
After playing most of his rugby in the professional ranks in England, Protheroe returns home to the city and team he watched as a young boy. He is the second new signing for the Ospreys next season, following scrum half Rhys Webb in December.
“I am a Swansea lad and I grew up watching the Ospreys,” said Protheroe.
“James Hook, Shane Williams, Tommy Bowe, Jonathan Thomas, Filo Tiatia and Lee Byrne were the players I used to turn up at the Liberty to watch as a young boy.
“I grew up watching those players. Having the chance to follow in their footsteps is a big thing for me.
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“It’s just a really exciting challenge for me. I have never played in the Guinness Pro14, which is a new league for me, so it’s just exciting for me and I am really looking forward to the challenge.”
He signed his first professional contract with Gloucester Rugby in the same year, before he left to join Bristol Bears in the RFU Championship from the 2017-18 season. Protheroe lit up Ashton Gate, winning try of the season for his length of the field effort versus Cornish Pirates in 2018.
England players who went onto play for other countries…
Nick Tompkins says it is a “huge honour” to be called up by Wales after they poached him from under England’s noses for this year’s Six Nations.
The 24-year-old has shone at youth level for England and was part of the 2014 Under-20 World Cup-winning team captained by club team-mate Maro Itoje.
Another England U20 star who could make their senior international debut next month is Billy Burns, who was named by Andy Farrell in Ireland’s Six Nations squad.
But they aren’t the only player who represented England at age grade or counties who went onto represent tother countries at Test level…
1. Will Addison (Ireland)
Addison was part of the England U20 side which won the Junior Six Nations.[He also featured at the 2012 Junior World Cup.
In March 2018 it was announced that Addison would be joining Pro14 side Ulster with the centre being an Ireland-qualified player.
On 24 October 2018, Addison was named in the Ireland squad for the November Internationals, making his debut for Ireland against Italy.
2. Chris Harris (Scotland)
The Cumbrian centre had a long road from the National League to International rugby. One of those stop-offs was representing England counties. He’s now a regular Scotland international!