Sam Cross: Ospreys sign Olympic Sevens silver medallist
Olympic silver medallist Sam Cross is switching from rugby sevens to 15s after signing a deal with Ospreys.
Cross has been at the region this season by arrangement with the Welsh Rugby Union and was seeking a deal.
The 26-year-old received a shock Wales squad call-up for the 2017 autumn after just one match for the Ospreys and won his first cap against Australia.
"Sevens has been a big part of my development., I'm sad to leave but excited for the future," he said.
Cross will miss the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April and the Sevens World Cup in July.
The back-rower has played five times for Ospreys, scoring three tries, the last of which came in last weekend's thrilling 27-26 win over Cheetahs.
He featured in over 40 sevens tournaments for Wales, won an Olympic silver medal in Rio 2016, and was last season named the Impact Player of Year in the World Rugby Sevens Series.
"I've been looking to transition and the Sevens have given me the opportunity to come to the Ospreys to develop my fifteen a side game and it's worked out well for me, being able to earn a contract for myself for the next two years," he said.
"It's been brilliant, the opportunities have been there, and it feels like I've taken them. The conditioning now is going to be pretty different for me, I'm going to get a full pre-season with the Ospreys to help me become a fifteens player.
"The last four years have been huge for me with the Sevens. There's no other feeling like coming home from the Olympics with a medal, as a rugby player you never think you'll have the opportunity to do that.
"The cities I've been with the Sevens, the memories, but I've always had my eye on the transition and I'm thankful for the opportunity to do that."
Cross rose to prominence during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games winning a silver medal as part of the Team GB squad alongside fellow Welshman James Davies.
Cross' credentials as a 15-a-side player have already been endorsed by the Ospreys coaching staff.
"He is desperate to make it as a 15s player," said interim coach Allen Clarke.
"He has done wonderfully well through the Welsh Sevens programme.
"He is like a new signing for us. Sam brings a different dimension and compliments the type of game we like to play.
"We see him as a member of our squad going forward."
Cross joins flanker Will Jones and scrum-half Reuben Morgan-Williams in signing their first professional contracts with the Ospreys.
Adam Beard, Olly Cracknell, Ma'afu Fia, James King, Sam Parry and Owen Watkin have all signed extensions in recent weeks, with Wales and Scarlets pair Aled Davies and Scott Williams confirmed as summer signings.
Welsh Rugby Sevens head coach Gareth Williams said: "We are delighted Sam has secured a long-term future in regional rugby, although it is a disappointment ahead of April's Commonwealth Games, the Sevens World Cup in July, and the remainder of the World Rugby Sevens Series."