Cardiff Blues have today confirmed the new-look Academy squad for the 2014/15 season.
The conveyor belt of young talent at Blues coming through the age grade pathway continues to provide a strong core of players who have progressed into the senior ranks.
This season a total of 26 players in the senior squad at Blues are Academy products.
The players who are aiming to become the next generation of stars at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park have been confirmed with the 2014/15 squad eager to prove they can graduate into the senior squad.
Academy Performance Manager, Richard Hodges, revealed the Academy squad would be split into gold, silver and bronze groups this season, with only the gold group training at The Vale alongside the senior Blues squad. The groups will be reviewed every three months to ensure players are aspiring to move up and join the gold group.
He said: "We have a strong group of boys in the Academy set-up at Cardiff Blues this season and we look forward to seeing their development this season and beyond.
"We also have a strong group below this with a crop of 16 and 17-year-olds who underpin this Academy and show the strength we now have at Blues.
"A total of 26 players in the senior squad are Academy graduates and that shows the strength of our system. Eight players have moved up this season and 13 over the last two years.
"If you are good enough you will be given the opportunity to progress at our region. Aspiring young rugby players know there is no better region to be a part of and you will be given the chance to shine at Blues."
Blues Academy: Will Baird, Hemi Barnes, Liam Belcher, Ellis-Wyn Benham, Leon Crump, Dafi-Sion Davies, Jack Davies, Mike Hale, Joe Jones, Callum Lewis, Rob Lewis, Matthew Marley, Harri Millard, Lewis Morgan, Sam Parker, Jack Phillips, James Sheekey, Bradley Thyer, Jordan Viggers, James Whittingham.
Click HERE to see the new Academy squad for 2014/15
Season Ticket holders at Cardiff Blues are reminded that they gain FREE entry to the British & Irish Cup pool fixtures this season - starting with Saturday's home fixture against Nottingham Rugby at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park (kick-off 2.30pm).
Teenage Cancer Trust will be collecting for valuable funds at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday afternoon ahead of our British & Irish Cup fixture with Nottingham Rugby (kick-off 2.30pm). Ahead of the game, we take a closer look at the charity and discover how they are making a difference...
Cardiff Blues suffered a first defeat of the season in the European Rugby Challenge Cup as a second half burst of tries from Harlequins saw the English side claim victory at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.