Loosehead Smith – a former Wales Under-20 international – has committed his future to his home region in what is a big boost for the Ospreys.
The 28-cap Wales international, who was born in Swansea, helped Warren Gatland’s national side to Six Nations Grand Slam glory in March.
“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 is always room for improvement and I know there is a lot I can work on so over these four years I can hopefully become a better player.”
Smith has made 106 Ospreys appearances and played in four of Wales’ Tests during the 2019 Six Nations Grand Slam.
Ospreys head coach Allen Clarke said: “Despite being comparatively young Nicky 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.”
The news on Smith is timely for the Ospreys who face Welsh regional rivals Scarlets in their European Champions Cup play-off clash on home soil on Saturday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
“We’ve got a big game at the weekend and I’m excited to hopefully be involved in it,” Smith added.
“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 reached his his 100th game coming earlier this season against Pau in the Challenge Cup.
He has scored five tries for the region in total.
Clarke added: “Nicky is a Swansea boy, he’s been here all his career developing through the academy pathway to the Ospreys senior team, and he is now an established international.
“It’s important for us 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.”