Following a barn storming season, Cardiff Blues and Wales Number 8 Andy Powell has singed a new contract with the region that will see him stay with the Blues until 2012.
Powell who is originally from Brecon joined the Cardiff Blues from the Llanelli Scarlets in the summer of 2005. The highly rated back row forward made a real impact in his first season winning a number of man of the match awards. However, the following season was an exceptionally unlucky one for Powell who injured his left shoulder in a pre season friendly against Bristol. The injury required total shoulder reconstruction and he returned to action at the beginning of April. Three games in to his comeback he suffered an identical injury to his right shoulder which would also require reconstruction.
Andy managed to put his injury troubles behind him and has since become a regular starter in the Cardiff Blues and Wales back row. His outstanding form early in the 2008/2009 season saw him finally rewarded with a Wales cap, making his long awaited debut against the World Champions, South Africa in November 2008, winning the man of the match award in the process.
Speaking of the announcement Director of Rugby David Young said, "Andy has been in outstanding form for us this season. He has been unlucky over the last few years with injuries but having put a run of games together it is evident for everyone to see that he is a quality player with a real presence on the rugby pitch."
Front row forward Gary Powell, has also signed a contract extension with the region that will see him stay with the Blues until 2011.
Powell, who is originally from the Rhondda was educated at Treorchy Comprehensive School and Llandovery College. He first joined Cardiff RFC in the summer of 1999 enjoying an excellent first season as a young prop winning a Wales under-21 cap while at the Arms Park. He then spent a number of years playing in the English Premiership, before returning to the Arms Park in May 2006.
Since his return, Gary has established himself in the Cardiff Blues front row, having made over 50 appearances for the region.
"We have been really pleased with Gary's performances and attitude since his return to the Arms Park. He has knuckled down and has always grafted hard in the forwards. We are working on building a strong pack here at the Blues and Gary is very much part of that," said David Young.
Hailing from Llantirsant, former Pant Comprehensive pupil, Bradley Davies, went on to join the Blues Academy in Treforest. The second row forward captained Wales Under-19 to the Grand Slam in 2005 and made two Celtic League appearances for the Blues the same season. Davies has now signed a contract with the region that will keep him with the Blues until 2012.
Davies has progressed well through the system and the 2006/07 season saw him established in the senior Blues squad. His energy and commitment around the field has impressed the Blues faithful and Bradley was voted the most improved player for the 2006/07 season by the supporters' club.
In May 2008 Davies was included in Warren Gatland's Wales squad for the two-Test tour to South Africa in June but damaged his knee in training and had to return to Wales before the first test.
He is very much part of coach David Young's plans for the future "Bradley has a big future with the Cardiff Blues, his physical presence on the pitch and his work rate around it cannot be underestimated. He is another product of our Academy at Treforest and we are delighted that he has committed his future with us."
Cardiff Blues scrum half Richie Rees has also singed a new contract with the Blues that will keep him with the region until 2011.
One of Wales's brightest scrum half prospects, Richie Rees impressed the Blues coaching set up with his livewire performance for London Irish against the Cardiff Blues in the 2006 EDF Energy Cup. He joined the Blues in 2007 making his debut in September of the 2007/2008 season against the Dragons and has gone on to make 27 appearances for the region.
"Since joining us here at the Blues, Richie has worked hard at his game. We are pleased with the way he is progressing. He is a very dynamic player and is always a threat. He is still a young man and I'm sure there is still very much more to come from Richie Rees."