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Cuthbert: Wales aims kept me at Blues

Alex Cuthbert's desire to represent Wales was a key factor in his decision to sign a one-year contract extension with the Cardiff Blues.

The 22-year-old Grand Slam winner had been linked with a big-money move to French clubs Racing Metro and Toulon after a meteoric rise to prominence.

"Playing for Wales was a huge part of my decision to stay with the Blues and playing for the region regularly will hopefully strengthen my chances of keeping my place in the Wales team," he said.

The giant winger started the season on a Blues' development contract, but his impressive form for the region saw him win his first cap for Wales against Australia in December.

He filled the gap vacated by the retirement of Shane Williams with great aplomb during the Six Nations, scoring three tries, including the crucial score in the title-clinching win over France.

A move to the Top 14 could have impacted on Cuthbert's availability for Wales, and he ultimately decided that remaining with the Blues' would boost his international ambitions.

"I am very pleased to be re-signing for another year with the Blues and I can now look forward to the summer tour with Wales and next season with the region," he said.

"I had a few offers outside of Wales and having gone through all the options thoroughly with family and friends, I came to the conclusion that the best option was to stay at the Blues, showing my loyalty to the region, coaches and the fans."

Cuthbert's decision to remain with the Blues bucks the recent trend which has seen Wales internationals agree big-money moves to play for clubs in England and France, with the Welsh regions set to introduce a £3.5million salary cap from next season.

The Blues have lost prop Gethin Jenkins to Toulon and hooker Rhys Thomas to Wasps, while Kiwi centre Casey Laulala and former Scotland fly-half Dan Parks will join Munster and Connacht respectively.


From Belfast Telegraph