Damian Welch to depart for Cross Keys

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Cardiff Blues second row Damian Welch will leave the club this summer after signing a contract with Welsh Premiership side Cross Keys ahead of next season.

It will be the second time that Welch has departed the Arms Park, after he spent two seasons with Cardiff RFC from 2007-2009, before moving on to the Scarlets at the end of that contract.

He went on to make 60 appearances down West over the course of three seasons, appearing for Llanelli, Carmarthen and Llandovery in the Premiership when not called upon by the professional side.

From there he moved across the border to Exeter Chiefs, racking up 48 appearances in five seasons at Sandy Park, before finally making his Cardiff Blues debut against Edinburgh last September following a summer return to the Arms Park.

Damian Welch Exeter
Damian Welch in Exeter action against Cardiff Blues

Welch has gone on to make 20 appearances in all competitions so far this season, and was an unused substitute last weekend as Cardiff Blues booked a place in the European Challenge Cup Final.

The 35-year-old will link up with a former Cardiff Blue in Jason Tovey, who will play at Pandy Park next season having been released by Edinburgh, as Welsh Premiership teams look to bolster their squads ahead of relegation returning to the league in 2018/19.

For Cardiff Blues, John Mulvihill will now have to work to fill a gap in the second row ranks, with only Seb Davies, George Earle and James Down in the senior squad who could be classed as out-and-out locks, while Josh Turnbull and Macauley Cook can step in from blindside to cover if required.

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