Canadian sevens star and 15s scrum half Phil Mack (seen here speeding away from a Kenyan during the Abbotsford 7s in 2009)

Phil Mack goes pro with Ospreys

Oak Bay product and Canadian scrum half to fill in for Ospreys

Get your wallet out if you want to watch Phil Mack during his upcoming stint playing scrum half for the Ospreys.

Mack signed a short-term, four-week contract with the Ospreys of Swansea (Wales) earlier this week after a summer of tremendous success playing scrum half for Canada in the Pacific Nations Cup and RWC qualifying series versus the U.S.A.

The Ospreys, of the RaboDirect Pro 12, one of the three elite pro leagues in Europe, are shown here on Sportsnet World at a cost of $25 per month online or $17 per month through cable.

The RaboDirect Pro 12 features many of the world’s most storied rugby clubs and top flight players.

Mack’s taking over for injured Rhys Webb, who plays No. 9 for Wales. It means time off from the UVic Vikes, as the Oak Bay High grad and former James Bay Athletic Association joins a short list of about a dozen Canadians playing rugby for money.

“This is the first time I have been looked at or been in search of a professional job,” Mack said from Wales. “I’m extremely excited that it turned out to be the Ospreys given the caliber of play. It is a proud moment and I’m going to work hard and just try and contribute as best I can.”

Rugby fans will know the Ospreys as the home of legendary winger Shane Williams, who Mack, 5-foot-8, has looked up to as a role model.

“I have always liked to watch Shane Williams play given the fact he was an undersized player but played above his size. A definite player that inspired me.”

Already in the Ospreys dressing room are Canadians Jeff Hassler and Tyler Ardron.

Around the pitch Sept. 20-21

Mack’s former teammates are still available to watch live for $5 to $7 locally in Barnard Cup Island rugby union play. The UVic Vikes visit the Castaway Wanderers at Windsor Park on Saturday (Sept. 21), first division at 1 p.m. and premiers at 2:45 p.m. James Bay AA hosts the Velox Valhallians at MacDonald Park, first division at 1 p.m. and premiers at 2:45 p.m. The Velox Valkyries host Cowichan in senior women’s play, 11:30 a.m. at Velox field on Saturday while the Vikes women host Lethbridge tonight at 7 p.m. on Wallace Field.

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