Cardiff Blues are delighted to have re-signed Rhys Patchell, Sam Hobbs, Rhys Williams, Tom Davies and Richard Smith
The five youngsters, Patchell, Hobbs, Williams, Davies and Smith are key to Phil Davies’ 25x25 vision of having twenty-five players under the age of twenty-five in the squad.
Speaking of the signings Phil Davies said,
“At the start of year everyone said that Rhys Patchell can do this and that, you are never short of advice on players but the one thing I have always looked for in players is there temperament.
“I look back over the years at some of the players that have come through; Danny Care at Leeds, Simon Easterby, players like that who have gone on to play international rugby and that is what struck me about Rhys very early on.
“He is a very intelligent young man, has a very good temperament and he takes things in his stride.
“What we must remember is he a young man and it is important that we nurture him and I think that the staff here have done a great job for Rhys and he has done a fantastic job for us.
“Rhys is the future of the Blues, players like him, Sam Hobbs, Tom Davies and Tom Williams are the type we want to be building the team around.
“That is why it was so important to get him to stay and to have him around for the next three years is fantastic.
“I think we have given him the opportunity and he has taken it.
“We had stick for some of the results early on because we were trying to develop, grow and nurture the squad to gain some depth for ourselves.
“We have achieved that now and the results have got a little bit better.
“There is a bigger picture and it is about putting things into context, we are starting to do that.
“Never at any point have we got excited or emotional about anything, we have just continued to work hard and harder.
“Patchell alongside Ceri Sweeney, Jason Tovey and Gareth Davies, have all made a contribution but Patchell has really grabbed the mantel and has done exceptionally well.
“He still has a long way to go but for a young player he is remarkably composed, he has an outstanding temperament and that will help him in years to come.”
Speaking of Sam Hobbs and Rhys Williams, Phil Davies said,
"We are very lucky that we have got Sam Hobbs who I feel is one of the outstanding front row prospects in Wales.
“I am pretty sure that he will play for Wales in the next few years.
“What I like about Sam is not just his scurmaging that he is developing, but his overall game.
“He is a strong guy, his line out lifting is good; his ability to tackle and jackal at the break down in defences is excellent.
“He is a good all round rugby player.
“He understands the wider picture and he understands the game.
“For me it was vitally important that we kept him in the squad.
“He is one of those players that wants to understand the game and the way he studies the game is exceptional for a young player.
“I am pleased he has come back and overcome some bad injuries; he has overcome that and works exceptionally hard.
“I am delighted that we have got him and I am sure he will be a Welsh international in the near future.
“I know Rhys Williams from my time coaching the Wales Under 20s.
“When he played then he gave me good line out throws, good set piece play and he was industrious around the pitch.
“I always felt looking here that he perhaps did not have the opportunity to show what he is capable of doing.
“This year he has played in every level of competition and played well.
“He has played against some of the top front rows in Europe had held his own.
“For me next year he needs to replicate this year’s performance with a little bit of improvement he will have established himself as one of the main Hookers not just for the Blues but in Wales.
“He has all the attributes to go all the way.
“This is the first season that he is in the fore front of rugby in a Blues Senior squad.
“I am delighted he is staying and he has done exceptionally well.
“There is a lot more to come from Rhys and with Matthew Rees being here will really help him develop.
Speaking of Tom Davies and Richard Smith, Phil Davies added,
“Richard is a player who has been in and around the region for a few years, he has played Sevens rugby and is a strong robust player.
“He made his debut in the Centre against Munster this season, with Jamie Roberts inside him, and his attitude and professionalism is excellent.
“He has been with the Sevens for a number seasons so he understands what top level rugby is about and will be with us for the next two years.
“We are very lucky here, when you look at the front row situation, with the experience of Fau Filise and then the youth part of it with Scott Andrews and Sam Hobbs who are only 23.
“Then you have Tom Davies who is not even 20 yet, who again has played rugby in the pre-season and has made his debut in the Rabo this year in the Dragons game.
"I thought he was outstanding coming on when we were a man down, they got a penalty scrum near our line when we had seven forwards and we defended strongly.
“He, along with Sam Hobbs, are future Welsh props and we are very lucky to have them here for the next three years.
“With front row forwards you need to see what they can be rather than what they are now. Scott Andrews is a good example of this.”
“We are in a unique position in Wales because of the way the national team manages the players.
“I think that we need to retain all our outstanding young players and hopefully those we have signed, such as Matthew Rees, will help add value and experience to the squad.
“The current squad will be a lot better and we will be a lot stronger next season.
“We just have to go along with the principals we have this season, trying to get 25 players under the age of 25 at the club for the next three or four years.
“We are building it around that number and age pool, so we can start challenging the likes of Leinster and Ulster, or any other team for that matter,” concluded Davies.
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