Joe Bearman extends Ospreys contract by two more years
JOE Bearman has signed a new deal with the Ospreys to extend his career at the Liberty until 2015.
The evergreen back rower has proved a major success since joining from the Dragons two years ago, making 45 appearances and establishing himself as an important figure on and off the field.
He is that priceless breed on the austerity-hit professional scene this side of the Severn Bridge, a Wales-qualified player who plays consistently well yet is available to his region throughout the year.
"It is great news that Joe is staying," said the region's rugby operations manager Andy Lloyd.
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"He is a fantastic member of the squad and with his contract expiring at the end of this season it was important that he signed a new deal.
"He's an outstanding athlete who is really physical with or without the ball. He carries well and makes more than his fair share of tackles.
"He just keeps getting better and better and even though he is a little bit older than most, his conditioning is excellent."
The Ospreys especially value the work the Cornishman does mentoring young players and helping to bring through the next generation of players at the Liberty.
"He is entirely selfless and always puts the team first," said Lloyd.
Bearman celebrated his 34th birthday last week but the Ospreys are unconcerned about his advancing years and could point out that Filo Tiatia didn't make his debut for them until he was 35.
Bearman said: "I've really enjoyed my first two seasons down here, so I'm really happy to be able to sign a new contract.
"It's a pleasure to come to work every day, to play for the Ospreys.
"We have a great bunch of boys in the squad and quality coaching staff. There's a great atmosphere around the place and I'm really enjoying myself here, so it was a straightforward, easy decision to commit myself to the Ospreys for another two years."
A 13-13 draw with Munster at Thomond Park on Saturday evening wasn't enough for the Pro12 champions to reclaim their place in the top four in the Pro12, the Scarlets having overtaken them 24 hours earlier.
The Llanelli-based region will be seen as favourites to claim the final place on offer for the play-offs, with a far easier run-in, but the Ospreys are in no mood to throw in the towel. "We said we wanted to be in contention for the run-in at the end of this block of matches and we are very much in there," said assistant coach Jonathan Humphreys.
"To go to Thomond Park, a place where Munster rarely lose, with so many players missing and to get two points, is a very good result.
"We've had a difficult month, losing a lot of players and going to Ireland three times to face teams with bigger budgets.
"To get the return we have had in terms of points and performances is extremely pleasing.
"The next time we play, against the Dragons, we'll have boys coming back to fitness and we'll be strengthened by the internationals coming back into the group.
"We want them to come to us off the back of two positive results with Wales, and with a clean bill of health, as we have five massive games coming up.
"We want to successfully defend our title and aren't going to give it up lightly. Everyone will have to pull together for the cause."