Richie Rees hints Ben Thomas will stay at inside centre

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New Cardiff Blues backs and attack coach Richie Rees has suggested that Ben Thomas will be seen primarily as an inside centre during the upcoming season.

In the latest episode of Cardiff Blues Uncovered, the series that goes behind the scenes of pre-season training at Wales’ Capital Region, Rees was interviewed having stepped up to the senior coaching role from his Academy position, replacing Jason Strange.

During the chat he was asked about the young star, saying, “I’ve known Ben, he’s been in the academy system a long time and he’s an exceptionally talented rugby player.

“He’s played a lot of his rugby at 10, in the long term will he go back there? Who knows.

“Last season myself and Gruff Rees (Cardiff Blues Academy Manager) had a discussion with him about shifting him a channel out to play 12 to give him that little bit more time on the ball, and he then becomes your second receiver. He’s got an extra second in front of him to visualise the defensive picture.

“Communication is one of his work-ons. He sees the game, it’s just how he represents that to the players around him. We put a mic on him in training and we didn’t tell him we put it on him, purely for his knowledge. Then we gave him feedback on how he can relay what he sees back a little bit earlier.”

Thomas won Cardiff Blues Academy Player of the Year and the Welsh Premiership’s Newcomer of the Year after the 2018/19 campaign, during which he helped Cardiff RFC to second in the League and to lifting the WRU National Cup trophy.

The 20-year-old made 19 appearances for the Blue and Blacks in all competitions, starting 15 of them in the centre, and scoring 10 tries.

Cardiff Blues Uncovered: Episode 2 is available by clicking here.

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