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Earle heads list of confirmed departures

Blues News | 10th May 2019

Cardiff Blues can confirm the players leaving the region at the end of the 2018-19 season with George Earle heading a list of previously unconfirmed departures.

With moves for Rhys Carré, Gareth Anscombe, Steve Shingler, Jack Roberts, Blaine Scully and Tom Williams, plus the retirement of Matthew Rees, announced in recent months, seven more players will depart the Arms Park.

South African-born Earle is the most experienced of those, with 59 appearances since moving to Wales’ Capital Region from the Scarlets for the 2016-17 season. Elsewhere in the pack, versatile back-row forward Sion Bennett also moves on following a two-year stint in the capital.

In the backs, four more players, with limited first team experience, depart the academy with Dane Blacker, Ben Jones, Cam Lewis and Corey Howells all leaving as does George Thomas.

Cardiff Blues head coach John Mulvihill said: “On behalf of the entire region, I would like to thank all of the departing players for their efforts in Cardiff Blues jersey over the years.

“Whether they have been with us for three years like George Earle or progressed through the academy, they’re professionalism and commitment has been unquestionable.

“We wish them all the very best for the next chapters in their careers, or life after rugby, and hope they look back on their time here with immense pride.

“To single out George, he is a really good man and has been a really popular teammate who brought experience and aggression every time he took to the field

“We have been up front and honest with each other throughout and at one point it looked as if he would go back to South Africa, and we felt it was an opportunity for us to look elsewhere, but he now moves to France with our best wishes.

“As for Sion, he had a really tough start to the season, coming back from surgery and was unable to get the game time he needed in a hugely competitive position.”

Cardiff Blues also saw Wales’ record cap holder Gethin Jenkins retire earlier in the season, while Samu Manoa also returned to America for personal reasons.

However a host of key personnel, including Josh Navidi, Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans and Willis Halaholo, have committed their future to the Blues while Wales duo Hallam Amos and Josh Adams will also arrive for next season.

Mulvihill added: “While there are quite a few players leaving, this was the first opportunity to shape a squad I inherited, and we are looking forward to building a group packed with excitement and quality.

“It has been great to retain so many hugely promising local players with Josh, Tomos, Jarrod, Harri Millard, Garyn Smith, Keiron Assiratti and Shane Lewis-Hughes all among those committing their long-term future of the club.

“This is on top of the likes of Owen Lane, Aled Summerhill, Seb Davies and Dillon Lewis, who were already secured. The academy and pathway continues to produce talent and we were delighted to bring in Hallam and Josh to supplement that.

“We continue to work very hard behind the scenes to strengthen the squad in the right areas and within the budget we have as we build towards the 2019-20 season.

“There are still areas to strengthen and there will hopefully be some exciting announcements in the coming weeks, which will demonstrate our intent, while we will continue to assess the squad following the World Cup.”