Cardiff Blues have secured the sought-after services of Dmitri Arhip on a long-term contract to remain at the Arms Park.
The tight-head prop received widespread interest from across Europe but has opted to sign a new deal to remain at Wales’ Capital Region.
It is a significant boost to the Blues, who have also recently agreed a new long-term contract with Wales tight-head prop Dillon Lewis.
Arhip, who joined Cardiff Blues following a seven-year spell with the Ospreys, is delighted to extend his stay in Wales and believes there is a bright future at the Arms Park.
He said: “My family are very happy in Wales, my kids go to a Welsh school and this is very much home for us. The people are very welcoming so we are all really settled and it was an easy decision to make.
“This is an ambitious team with a great culture. We’re building a really good squad with both experienced and young players coming through. It’s a team where I believe we can really compete and push on to win something.
“There is also a lot of competition at tight-head, which makes sure everyone is constantly pushing each other and improving. We all work closely together to help improve different aspects in each other’s games.
“It has been frustrating to miss a couple of months through injury but now I am back playing I am determined to help the team as much as possible and I’m looking forward to the years ahead.”
Since making his Cardiff Blues debut against Leinster in 2018, the Moldovan international has racked up 18 appearances.
Head coach John Mulvihill was delighted to retain the formidable scrummager’s services and believes he is the perfect role model for the region’s young forwards.
He said: “Dmitri is one of the best scrummaging props in the competition and is a massive part of our programme, both on and off the pitch.
“He is a superb role-model and works incredibly hard to continually improve his game. With so many young props it is vitally important to have such a seasoned professional and he does a great job not only mentoring them but competing with them for everyone’s betterment.
“It is an area where we have a lot of strength in depth, which is what we want across the board, and that brings the best out of every one.”