Cardiff Blues have been able to confirm the final seven new contracts signed before the coronavirus pandemic hit as the squad prepares for the 2020/21 season.
In the few months before lockdown hit in late March, there was already confirmation that Dmitri Arhip, Seb Davies, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Dillon Lewis, Matthew Morgan, Josh Navidi, James Ratti and Olly Robinson had signed new deals to stay at the Arms Park beyond the summer.
They have been joined by Liam Belcher, Will Boyde, Lewis Jones, Kirby Myhill, Aled Summerhill, Jason Tovey and Lloyd Williams as 15 players in all pen new deals to stay with Cardiff Blues, giving the squad a settled feel going into John Mulvihill’s third year in charge.
Hooker Belcher is a former member of the Cardiff Blues Academy, but briefly left the Arms Park in 2017 to spend a season with the Dragons before returning the following summer. Initially part of the Cardiff Blues A squad in the Celtic Cup, he quickly became an established first team option and has gone on to make 24 appearances in all competitions over the last two years.
Former Scarlets back rower Boyde only arrived in the capital last summer but has made a serious impact in 12 months, catching the eye of supporters will his all-action performances, earning respect from his team-mates to be made a matchday captain and clearly impressing the coaches enough to earn an improved contract in his first season.
Jones celebrated his 10th season with the Cardiff Blues at scrum-half last season, having been another who briefly departed the Academy system before returning and becoming a familiar face in the first team squad. A member of the 100 Club, the 27-year-old will continue to challenge Tomos and Lloyd Williams over the next few years.
Also a former Scarlet, Myhill made the switch to the Arms Park back in the summer of 2016 but had to wait a year to properly establish himself due to injury. Since then he has made 61 appearances in all competitions, battling with Belcher and Ethan Lewis to challenge Kristian Dacey for the number two jersey.
Summerhill has at times struggled to hold down a spot in the starting XV with the likes of Owen Lane, Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Alex Cuthbert and Tom James ahead of him in the pecking order since he properly burst on to the scene in 2015. However, the Rhondda Rocket was still able to break into the post-2003 top 10 try scorers list last season, currently sitting on 25 tries in 62 games.
Fly-half Tovey has earned a new contract in his second spell at the Cardiff Blues, seven years on from his first stint at the club. The first time round ended prematurely back in 2013, but this time the 31-year-old is happy to play backup to Jarrod Evans, still making 18 appearances in all competitions last season and scoring 78 points.
Finally, Lloyd Williams signs a new contract at the beginning of his 12th season at the Arms Park, a very important one for him with fellow scrum-half Tomos currently injured and likely to be away with Wales for much of the campaign. Still only 30, the 28-cap international is currently on 212 Cardiff Blues appearances, with half-an-eye on Fa’ao Filise’s post-2003 record of 255.