A second row shopping list

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With Cardiff Blues appearing to have completed their re-signing announcements at the end of the week and confirming the list of the departed players the week before, attention now turns to recruitment.

As we know, money is tight on the ground as we try to manage a £6m playing budget having already signed Wales internationals Josh Adams and Hallam Amos, as well as re-signing the likes of Josh Navidi, Nick Williams, Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans and Willis Halaholo.

However, there are still noticeable gaps in the playing squad, with probably the most blatantly obvious of those being second row, where currently only Seb Davies and James Down are contracted for next season, with Josh Turnbull and Macauley Cook able to cover, and Ben Murphy and Callum Bradbury emerging.

As a result, I’ve decided to do some scouting about to assist John Mulvihill in seeing who is available, and I’ve turned to what I assume is every scouts best friend, Wikipedia!

Looking at this season’s released lists for the Guinness Pro14 and Gallagher Premiership, as well as last season’s Super Rugby list, I’ve put together a selection of second rows who might be available, with the Top14 clubs still to announce their released lists.

Joe Latta (Bristol)

6ft6 nearly 18st former New Zealand U20 international who has spent the last two years at Bristol having spent two years at Harlequins before that.

Joe Latta has been released by Bristol

Ben Glynn (Bristol)

Another at 6ft6, but closer to 19st, he leaves Harlequins having graduated the Bristol academy and impressed during their 2016/17 Premiership campaign.

Filo Paulo (London Irish)

A familiar name, the 31-year-old is a free agent having been released by London Irish, after leaving Benetton Treviso whom he joined after leaving us.

Dom Barrow (Northampton Saints)

A former England U20 international with bags of Premiership experience having featured for Yorkshire Carnegie, Newcastle Falcons, Leicester Tigers and most recently Northampton Saints, and still only 26.

James Ratti (Ospreys)

Already mentioned as linked to an Arms Park switch, the former Wales U20 international could well prove himself a handy signing if given game time.

Richie Arnold (Brumbies)

Let go by the Super Rugby outfit last summer he has had a stint in Japan and is currently at Toulouse as a medical joker. At 6ft10 and 20st he would do nicely.

Richie Arnold is a medical joker in France

Nick Palmer (Waratahs)

Has mostly played local club rugby but impressed enough to spend last season with the Waratahs. Might have issues obtaining a visa.

Sam Wykes (Sunwolves)

Spent eight seasons with the Western Force prior to moving to Japan so may well be known to John Mulvihill. The 31-year-old has experience, and at 6ft6 and 17.5st, the size to make a difference.

Ruan Nortje (Bulls)

Springbok U20 international who spent last season with the Bulls but hasn’t been included in their squad this year with Lood de Jager and RG Snyman among those ahead of him.

Aston Fortuin (Bulls)

Another not included by the Bulls this season, the 23-year-old is 6ft5 and nearly 18st, with a fair amount of Currie Cup experience.

Eduard Zandberg (Stormers)

Former South African U20 cap who has played plenty of Currie Cup but wasn’t given a chance in Super Rugby by the Stormers last season. 6ft7 and 19st at just 23.

Jan de Klerk (Stormers)

Three years at the Stormers came to an end last summer for the 28-year-old, and has finished a season in Japan. 6ft6 and 18st, could be just what we’re looking for.

If any of these players have already signed elsewhere please do not hesitate to let me know!

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