Alex Mann and Rhys Anstey sign academy contacts with Cardiff Blues

Young Cardiff Blues talents Mann and Anstey have put pen-to-paper on their first academy contracts with their home region, making up a 23-man academy squad.

Back-row, Mann, and Second-row lock, Anstey, along with Theo Cabango, Evan Lloyd and Jake Thomas total five academy contracts signed for the coming season.

Wing Cabango and lock Anstey both represented Cardiff Blues A in the recent Celtic Cup campaign, while all five are also a part of the Cardiff Blues under-18 squad.

The five players have been training with the Cardiff Blues academy, under the watchful eye of coaches Gethin Jenkins, T Rhys Thomas, Aled James, Craig Everett and Nick MacLeod.

Academy manager, Gruff Rees, said: “We’re delighted to see five more of the region’s exciting young players committing to their home region and wanting to continue their development here.

“We have a really good group of players in camp at the moment, and it all points towards a really exciting future for the region’s philosophy of developing home-grown players and backing local talent. We’re clearly seeing the senior coaches living by this philosophy as well, and the belief they have in the academy system and players is great.

“It’s invaluable for both the region and the players themselves. They’re able to train in a professional environment, following a similar schedule to the first team, and are surrounded by the senior players, which really inspires them.

“Day-in, day-out, they’re working with coaches who have the highest of expectations, and they will reap the rewards in the future.

“We’ve deliberately contracted these boys early, once again, because we have heaps of talent coming through the region in both the north and south, and you can see that from the performances of our age grade sides. We are able to offer these boys key support and quality coaching at a crucial point in their development.

“As a department, we’re delighted with this news and it’s another positive step for our development process.

Cardiff Blues Academy Training – Rhys Anstey (Centre)