Hickey captained St Michael's College last year. Bryan Keane/INPHO
Irish Abroad

Irish back row prospect Hickey set to sign for the Ospreys in Wales

The 19-year-old captained the Leinster at U19s and has played for the province’s A team.

IRISH BACK ROW prospect Will Hickey is set to pursue a professional rugby career in Wales with the Ospreys.

The42 understands that the former Ireland Schools international is set to sign a deal with the Welsh Pro14 side after missing out on a place in the Leinster system.

Hickey – who plays at number eight or blindside flanker – was a starter for St Michael’s College as they won the 2019 Leinster Schools Senior Cup and then captained the Dublin school in last year’s competition.

He helped the Leinster U18s to inter-pro success and did the same with the Leinster U19s, captaining that side from number eight. 

Hickey represented Ireland the U18 Schools team in 2019 and was part of the Ireland U19 set-up last year, only for their schedule to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite featuring for Leinster A as recently as December, it’s understood that Hickey missed out on a place in Leinster’s academy system for this season.

However, the Ospreys were aware of his potential through his performances in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup and Hickey is now set to join the Welsh region.

Former Ireland U20s and Lansdowne boss Mike Ruddock is now in charge of the Ospreys’ development pathway as the region’s ‘development director.’

It’s not thought that Hickey is Welsh-qualified at present, meaning he would require five years of residency there if Wales did eventually wish to cap him. 

Young Irish players going abroad to pursue professional careers hasn’t traditionally been a common route but there have been a handful of recent examples.

21-year-old Cork man Eoghan Barrett joined Pau back in 2018 after missing out on the Munster academy and is now enjoying a major breakthrough season. The former Ireland U19 wing recently scored his first Top 14 try. 

Billy Scannell, the 21-year-old brother of Munster players Niall and Rory, has been on the books at Biarritz since 2019. The ex-Ireland U20 hooker made his Pro D2 debut last season.

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