Cardiff Blues have announced the signing of back rower Will Boyde after snapping him up following the news that the Scarlets would not be offering him a new deal.
The 24-year-old will make the switch to Wales’ Capital Region this summer after coming through the development pathway in West Wales, playing for the Scarlets at every level from U16 to the first team.
Hailing from Narberth originally he played for Carmarthen Quins in the Principality Premiership on the way through the system, and earned Wales U20 honours before making his senior debut against the Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park in December 2014.
The 2016/17 campaign would be Boyde’s real breakthrough season though, as he made 24 appearances in all competitions, coming off the bench as Scarlets beat Leinster in the Pro14 semi-final, and again as they beat Munster to win the Final. The following season he would again come off the bench, this time in a Heineken Cup semi-final.
After 83 appearances in all competitions though, he was told he would not be offered a new contract for next season, and Cardiff Blues have pounced at the opportunity to boost their back row numbers, with Boyde able to play on both flanks and crucially at number eight where he can take some workload off Nick Williams’ shoulders.
At one point it was thought the move might not go through for that reason, with Big Nick’s future uncertain and going back and for to the PRB, and Boyde’s contract seemingly having fallen through, however further negotiations will see him line-up at the Arms Park next season.
Speaking to the official club website, he said, “Now the season is over I am really excited about joining Cardiff Blues. I’ve always been with the Scarlets and I’m grateful for my time there but I’m now looking forward to this new challenge.
“Having previewed the Blues a couple of times this season, and then reviewed heavy defeats, I know exactly what they are capable of and how much potential there is at the Arms Park. It’s a quick pitch, which gives you home ground advantage, and that suits my game so I’m looking forward to that.
“It’s going to be a big challenge just to break into the team with such a competitive back-row but I’m excited about that challenge and learning from the likes of Nick Williams, Ellis Jenkins and Josh Navidi.
“There is so much exciting talent and hopefully I can play my part, bringing a physical edge and some big hits that can lift the team.”