Blue and Blacks announce a raft of forward signings

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Cardiff RFC have announced a whole host of new additions to the forwards as Steve Law gets preparation for the new season fully underway.

In all  players have been welcomed to the Arms Park in a bid to go that bit further in the Principality Premiership, after finishing second to Merthyr last season, as well as defend our WRU National Cup title.

There are new faces across the front row with Brynley Toms arriving from Bedwas to challenge Thomas Davies and Fraser Young for the loosehead prop spot.

The 27-year-old is a former Cardiff Met student and player, earning Wales Students honours during his time there, and has spent the last six seasons with Bedwas, making 147 appearances in all competitions. He has also represented the country of his birth, Bermuda.

Moving along the front row and, alongside the previously known about signing of Evan Yardley, Cardiff RFC have snapped up local lad Hugo Souto to boost stocks at hooker.

Souto has spent time in the professional development pathway, playing Dewar Shield rugby for Cardiff Schools and regional age grade for Cardiff Blues U16, before leading Rumney Youth to WRU Youth Cup success in 2016/17. He has also represented Spain U20 and graduated to the senior team at Rumney.

He comes from good rugby stock as the son of former Blue and Blacks hooker Jose Souto, who appeared 63 times for the club between 1980 and 1991.

Hugo Souto Rumney RFC
Hugo Souto lifts the WRU Youth Cup as Rumney captain

At tighthead we have brought in Ben Warren for pre-season, with the former Merthyr man who has won back-to-back Premiership titles at The Wern looking to secure a place in the squad for the start of the campaign.

Completing the new signings up front is Ollie Drake, who arrives from Pontypool having won the Championship title in each of his three seasons at the club.

The 25-year-old hails from Penarth, and played 68 times for Pooler, winning the Player of the Year award in 2017/18, and will go up against Peter Lloyd for the number three jersey next year.

Then into the back row and Steve Law has worked hard to boost the stocks here with four new players coming in, with Tom Daley departing leaving that back five a touch short.

Arguably the headline signing is James Thomas, who departed Dragons last season after 57 games in all competitions during 10 years as a professional rugby player, until a knee injury forced him to give up full-time training.

However, he is still able to play at the semi-professional and will bring a wealth of experience at this level having played for Bedwas, Pontypool, Newport and Ebbw Vale during his time at the Dragons.

James Thomas Dragons
James Thomas joins from the Dragons

Also coming from the East is Nathan Hudd, who arrives from Bedwas having previously been in the Dragons system, through from U16 to the Premiership Select XV.

He has played for Cross Keys and home town Newport in that time, having attended Newport High School, but has primarily been at the Bridge Field where he has made 62 appearances across all competitions over the last five years.

Then from the West is one of the youngest players to captain Llanelli RFC in the form of Lloyd Pike, who is heading to the capital after coming through the Scarlets pathway.

The soon-to-be 21-year-old has played age grade rugby and appeared for Coleg Sir Gar, before making 47 Premiership appearances for Llanelli over the last three years. Primarily a flanker but capable of covering at number eight, he only played seven games last season but will be looking to get some minutes in the Cardiff back row.

Finally, a signing from closer to home is Alex Everett who joins the Blue and Blacks having spent the last four years studying and playing rugby at Cardiff University.

In that time he has seen the Black and Reds promoted to BUCS Super Rugby and enjoy a successful first season at that level, as well as winning three Welsh Varsity games on the bounce.

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