Blues trio extend contracts
January 26, 2009
Leigh Halfpenny has signed a contract to keep him at the Blues until 2011 © Getty Images
Cardiff Blues have capped a great week by securing the signatures of three of their Welsh international contingent. The Blues secured top seeding for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals with a win over Calvisano on Friday, and are now looking forward to a big home tie with Toulouse in the last-eight
Now Wales' record caps holder Gareth Thomas, hooker T Rhys Thomas and Wales' latest wing sensation Leigh Halfpenny have all penned new deals.
Former Wales and British and Irish Lions captain Thomas has signed a new deal that will keep him at the Arms Park until 2010 after some performances this season that have belied his age.
"Gareth is a quality player which is evident from his record winning 100 caps for Wales and captaining the Lions," said Blues boss Dai Young. "His experience in big matches has been invaluable to us and he has really helped bring on some of the younger players in the squad.
"He has kept himself in great condition and even in the autumn of his career he still has that hunger for the game which is great to see a real example to the other players."
On the opposite end of the scale, Halfpenny has burst onto both the regional and international scene just this season, winning plaudits for his dangerous and elusive running and nerveless performances. Having made his Wales debut against South Africa in November with only a handful of Magners League games under his belt, Halfpenny looks set for a career at the top of the game.
He has signed a new deal that will keep him at Cardiff until 2011.
"Leigh is another product of the Blues Academy in Treforest and we have been delighted with his form for us this season having taken the step up to regional rugby," said Young. "He has played in some big games for us already this season and nothing seems to phase him.
"He is an exiting player to watch and the type of player that gets the crowd on the edge of their seats. He is still a young man who is eager to learn and I'm sure he has a bright future with both the Blues and Wales. He is very much part of our squad as we look to build on the progress we have made over recent years."
Hooker Thomas has played over 100 games for the Blues and has 27 caps for Wales. He scored two tries as the Blues defeated Calvisano in the Heineken Cup on Friday night and bolsters an improving Blues pack by signing until 2011.
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship
When the Great War broke out, rugby in Australia and New Zealand initially soldiered on. Rewind looks back