By Ian Golden, Date: 10/4/13
South Wales Scorpions half-back Ollie Olds has been given the opportunity of a lifetime and is joining Australian Queensland Cup side Ipswich Jets.
The move has been funded by Ipswichâ€™s parent side, the famous NRL club, Brisbane Broncos, who will probably be hoping that Olds will eventually make it into the toughest league in the world.
Hailing from Bridgend, the 19-year old started his Rugby League career with Brynteg Comprehensive School, and at the age of 12 in 2005, scored a try at the Millennium Stadium to help his school to a national Year 7 Champion Schools final win against Castleford High. He created another try, for Jay Robbins, in their 40-4 win.
After that, he went through the old Celtic Crusaders Academy before spending a year with Leeds Rhinos and playing in their under 20s side. He also had a spell with Championship side York City Knights in 2012.
After winning caps for Wales at under 16 and under 18 level, he made his first senior appearance against France in Wrexham in June 2012.
He signed for the Scorpions at the start of this year after Leeds axed their under 20s side, but it was always on the proviso that if an offer came in to further his career at a higher level, then the club wouldnâ€™t stand in his way.
But even he didnâ€™t believe that Australia would come calling so soon.
â€œBrisbane Broncos have paid for the flights,â€ said Olds. â€œTheyâ€™ve sorted out work and accommodation for me and Iâ€™ll be signing for Ipswich Jets, the feeder side to the Broncos, when I arrive in Australia this week.
â€œBecause Iâ€™m only 19, I can still play for Brisbane Broncos under 20s so my aim is to get into that side eventually.â€
Olds has his current team-mates to thank for him leaving so soon. He was aiming to go out to Australia in 2014 but events happened quicker than he expected.
â€œI was speaking to the Aussie boys at the Scorpions, Haydn Peacock and James Tutuila, and I told them that Iâ€™d love to play in Australia perhaps next season,â€ he said. â€œJames gave me the email address of the Ipswich Jets chairman and I then sent them a DVD in the hope Iâ€™d go down there in 2014.
â€œBut he called me and asked me to come down there straight away so Iâ€™m taking it.
â€œI also want to try and get into the Wales squad for the World Cup later this year. There are a lot of Welsh qualified half-backs who play at a high level than me, so if Iâ€™m playing in the Queensland Cup, thatâ€™ll help me improve my game.
â€œIâ€™d like to thank the Scorpions for releasing me, the Scorpions fans for all theyâ€™ve done to support me and to Paul Hart Photography for sponsoring me at the Scorpions this season.â€
Olds leaves the club after playing just four games, all in the Northern Rail Cup. He scored one try and kicked 10 goals which helped him to a place in last monthâ€™s Northern Rail Cup Team of the Month.
Scorpionsâ€™ coach Dave Clark said: â€œWe wish Ollie all the best in his career down under. Weâ€™re sorry to lose him but we obviously canâ€™t stand in his way as this is a great opportunity to further his career.
â€œItâ€™ll also be good for the Wales side to have one of their players turning out at a higher level than any side in the UK outside of Super League. All the best to him and I hope he progresses well. My big problem now is to replace him.â€