Two more Dragons linked to Cardiff Blues

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Cardiff Blues have been linked to two more Dragons players as potential signings this summer, with Wales squad member Ashton Hewitt and young back rower Robson Blake believed to be making the short trip East.

After Liam Belcher and Carl Meyer were linked with a move to the Arms Park in the last transfer rumour Friday, it appears that 23-year-olds Hewitt and Blake could follow suit in switching from Rodney Parade to the Arms Park.

Cardiff Blues fans would no doubt be pleased with the acquisition of Hewitt, who has been in excellent form over the last three years with the Dragons, and has been called up to two separate Wales squads in that time.

After seven tries in 18 games for Newport RFC back in 2013/14, the Dragons academy graduate was brought into the first time the following season and has gone on to score 20 tries in 70 games across the intervening four campaigns.

Ashton Hewitt
Ashton Hewitt scores against Cardiff Blues

He was called up to the Wales squad for the 2017 Six Nations, but withdrew due to a concussion that would keep him out for the rest of the season, something which will need to be considered throughout the rest of his career.

However, the former Caerleon Comprehensive student, who played a bit of rugby league in his youth, has undeniable pace and an eye for the try line, and would learn plenty from experienced wingers Tom James and Blaine Scully in the Cardiff Blues squad.

Having been called up to the Wales squad this summer as a replacement for Josh Adams, Hewitt is still clearly highly thought of by Warren Gatland and the Team Wales camp.

Robson Blake, on the other hand, might be more of an unknown quantity to many Cardiff Blues fans, but he is an exciting player with the raw potential to plug a gap in the squad at the Arms Park.

It was while playing for Bedwas in the Premiership, under current Cardiff RFC head coach Steve Law, that the Newport-born man was spotted during a breakout 2016/17 campaign, where he scored six tries in 24 games and was called up to the Dragons Premiership Select squad.

Robson Blake Bedwas
Robson Blake in action for Bedwas

 

Then head coach at Rodney Parade, Kingsley Jones, signed Blake up on a full-time contract on the back of these performances, but the former tree surgeon suffered a blow early on this season after picking up a shoulder injury against Connacht in September.

That kept him out until January, and although he returned to play against the likes of Bordeaux in the Challenge Cup, with competition in the back row at the Dragons from Aaron Wainwright, Taine Basham and James Benjamin, he found game time limited.

With Ross Moriarty and Huw Taylor already signed up to arrive in Newport next season, Cardiff Blues are rumoured to have taken a chance to have a look at the 6ft3, 20st back row prospect in what could be a shrewd move from the management at the Arms Park, with number eights slightly thin on the ground in Wales at the moment.

Taulupe Faletau has just extended his contract with Bath, Morgan Allen and Jack Condy at Scarlets have dropped out of the professional game, Dan Baker is struggling with injuries at Ospreys and Harri Keddie is still young at the Dragons.

Robson Blake Dragons
Robson Blake is a big ball carrying presence

 

At Cardiff Blues, Nick Williams has been superb in the number eight shirt this season, but is approaching the end of his career and could do with another player to take some of the workload. Alun Lawrence is a prospect but only just making his first forays into the senior game, therefore a bruising ball carrier in his early 20s fits the bill nicely.

Blake could have been joined at the Arms Park by Luke Charteris, who this week has been withdrawn from the Wales squad due to not being released for the out of Test window game against South Africa in America.

In conjunction with the Welsh Rugby Union, Charteris was made a good offer to come back to Wales in time for next year’s Rugby World Cup, but has chosen to see out his contract at Bath and the deal appears to be dead in the water.

Next week on transfer rumour Friday, it’s tighthead time…

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