It can now be confirmed that Anton Peikrishvili will be a Cardiff Blues player next season, putting an end to rumours linking him with a return to France, as Will Davies-King joins him at the Vale, but academy prop Tom Mably will depart this summer.
27-cap Georgian international Peikrishvili has been at the Arms Park for just over 18 months, after arriving in place of ill-fated signing Salesi Ma’afu in November 2016.
Things didn’t get off to the best start for the tighthead after he received a six-week ban for a self defence bite against Ospreys in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, but since then he has been a regular member of the first team squad, making 27 appearances in all competitions.
Selected to come off the bench against Edinburgh and start against Pau, Peikrishvili played a big part in getting Cardiff Blues to Bilbao, but did not feature in the final two games of the season, including the Challenge Cup Final, as rumours intensified that he could be on his way.
However, Cardiff Blues have confirmed that Fa’ao Filise, Alex Cuthbert and Damian Welch are the only departures from the senior squad this summer, meaning Anton will stay and fight it out for a spot in the matchday 23.
That battle, which will feature Dillon Lewis, Scott Andrews, Kieron Assiratti and the new mystery signing, will also have current Wales U20 prop Will Davies-King thrown into the mix from next season.
A product of Chepstow RFC, Davies-King first came to prominence as part of the Cardiff Met University rugby setup last season, and featured for both Cardiff RFC and Pontypridd RFC on the back of that.
Joining Ponty on a permanent basis last summer, the 19-year-old has been a regular member of the matchday squad at Sardis Road and earned a call-up to the Wales U20 squad that is playing in France’s Junior World Championship this summer. He will now go full-time with Cardiff Blues on his return, where he will form part of the new U23 set up.
Replacing Davies-King at Pontypridd will be Tom Mably, as the Cardiff Blues academy member is released and will play in the Principality Premiership next season, where teams are bolstering their squads in a bid to avoid re-introduced relegation.
Mably was a tracked player within the academy last season, meaning he trained full-time at The Vale, as well as with the Premiership team he was attached to that week. After starting the season with Cardiff RFC he then switched to Ponty for the second half of the campaign.
Able to play on both the loose and the tighthead, he featured for Wales U20 in the Six Nations and Junior World Championship last season, and will be an asset to Pontypridd under Justin Burnell next season.
Ponty have also signed Connor Lewis (loosehead), Will Haly (hooker), Geraint Clarke (hooker), Lloyd Evans (lock), Sion Edwards (flanker), Ross Barnes (flanker), Will Baird (scrum-half), David Francis (scrum-half), Huw Rees (scrum-half), Alex Knott (centre) and Adam Thomas (centre).