OLYMPIC silver medallist Sam Cross has switched from sevens to 15-a-side rugby after signing a two-year deal with the Ospreys.

The 25-year-old flanker from Brynmawr has been with the Liberty Stadium side this season and was due to make the permanent switch from a Welsh Rugby Union 7s contract next term.

But Cross, who won a shock call-up for Wales last autumn and made his Test debut against Australia, has decided to make the move early, sticking with the Ospreys rather than taking part in the Commonwealth Games and World Cup.

"Sevens has been a big part of my development over the last few years and I'm sad to leave the programme, but I'm excited looking at the future" he said.

"I've been looking to transition and the sevens have given me the opportunity to come to the Ospreys to develop my 15-a-side game and it's worked out well for me, being able to earn a contract for myself for the next two years.

"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 15s 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 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.

Wales head coach Gareth Williams believes that the player's departure will be a short-term blow to the programme but wished Cross the best for the future.

"We have actively played a part in exploring opportunities in the 15s game for Sam and, as a result, he gained international honours during the autumn campaign last year," he said.

"We also supported him and his partner through the birth of their daughter early this year, and respect and understand his desire not to travel due to this happy new development in his life."

"As a team, 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."

Wales Sevens have negotiated a swap deal with the Ospreys whereby Tom Williams will be part of the programme until the end of the World Cup in San Francisco.