On the back of some very impressive performances at the start of his season, young Aled Summerhill has signed a contract that will keep him at the Arms Park for the at least the next three seasons.
Danny Wilson and Billy Millard have moved swiftly on the back of the three tries in three games to tie down the talented back, who is comfortable at centre, wing and full-back, for a couple of years. It’s an important move on the back of an interview given by Blues CEO Richard Holland to Wales Online Rugby last April in which he said, ‘There have been guys who have come through the Cardiff Blues system and we have been too quick to off-load them to other clubs or regions where they have gone on to better things. That’s not acceptable really. That can’t happen going forward. We have got to do everything we can to retain boys that have come through the system, who can help build and create a new culture here.’ When it comes to building the future of the club, a player with the potential Summerhill has must be retained and it is pleasing to see the management have acted quickly to do just that.
Summerhill started as a fly-half, coming through the junior ranks at first Porth, then Pontypridd before joining Treorchy. It was playing there and at Rhondda Schools that he moved to centre, and has subsequently moved through the Blues Academy system and played for Wales Sevens. The 6ft2 back, who will be 21 next month, has spent much of his senior career at Pontypridd so far where he has won the Principality Premiership, and also the Premiership Player of the Year for last season.
The former Coleg Morgannwg student made his senior Cardiff debut in the LV Cup against Llanelli last year, before making his first Pro12 appearance against Zebre on the last day of the season. He picked up his first tries against the same opposition at the start of the current campaign, and crossed the line again in Connacht, before being forced off the field by a head injury.
Speaking to the Cardiff Blues website, Aled said, “It means a lot to get the new contract. I’ve always wanted to be professional rugby player and I’ve come through the age grade and Academy system here so it was an honour to sign up.”
“I’ve enjoyed this season and had a few games with international boys away with the Rugby World Cup. It has brought opportunity for the younger lads, which has been great for us all and a great experience. We’ve played well this season and maybe could have picked up a few wins if we can cut out the errors.
“On a personal level, I want to push for a starting place constantly with Blues. Keep working hard, keep my head down and hopefully I will get my chance. We have some class wingers with guys like Alex Cuthbert and Tom James. They are great to be around and learn off.”
Cardiff head coach Danny Wilson added, “We’ve been really pleased with Aled’s progress and he’s really impressed in the opening months of the new Guinness PRO12 season.”
“He is a young and versatile player who is still learning about the game and keen to get better. We’re excited that he will now continue his development with Cardiff Blues and look forward to him continuing to kick on in the years to come.”
Going forward, I think it’s important for Summerhill to start to tie down a position, rather than being looked on as a utility back, but Danny Wilson is certainly the right type of coach to guide him and help him do that. I look forward to celebrating many future tries by Aled for both Cardiff and Wales!