Breeze, Jones have the Blues

Wed, 16 Jan 2013 19:28
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Cardiff Blues hooker Marc Breeze and young scrumhalf Lewis Jones are the latest players to extend their contracts with the region.

Cardiff Blues hooker Marc Breeze and young scrumhalf Lewis Jones are the latest players to extend their contracts with the region.

Having started his career at blindside flank, Breeze played in the back row for Wales at Under-16 level, captaining the side.

However, Breeze converted to hooker under the guidance of former Wales hooker, Garin Jenkins, where he went on to earn caps at Under-19 and Under-20 level, forming part of the 2006 Grand Slam Junior World Cup side alongside current team mates James Down, Bradley Davies and Lou Reed.

His early career saw him play for both Aberavon and the Ospreys before leaving Wales, to join London Welsh.

Breeze returned to Wales, after struggling with the commute, to play for Aberavon in 2010, which saw him reach a total of 170 appearances for the Premiership side and soon after signed with the Cardiff Blues.

On his signing and subsequent contract extension, Breeze comments on his enjoyment playing with the Welsh Capital side: “When I received the phone call last October to be part of the Cardiff Blues team I could not have asked for more.

“I had played against the boys regularly and played with some of them through the age grades, so I fitted in quite quickly.

“I played 27 games in 13 months and also played my first European Cup matches with the Cardiff Blues, which has been great for me.

“The facilities at the Blues are the best in Wales. You can’t compare them with the ones at some of the other clubs that I have been to. Everything is in one location, which makes it so much easier.

“There’s no interruption to training and the kitchen is on site, which makes it all very easy to manage our nutritional intake.”

Beddau born and bred, No.9 Jones spent his early days playing for his school and for his local club at junior and youth level. While studying at Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen, Lewis was called up to the Blues age grade squads from Under-16s through to Under-18s.

Whilst studying at Pencoed College, Jones also joined the Bridgend WRU College League side during his two years in sixth-form.

On being released by the Blues Academy in November 2010, Jones was offered a permanent contract with Pontypridd RFC and went on to play a significant part in the club's successful campaign, culminating in a double try-scoring, man of the match performance in the 2011 SWALEC Cup final.

After an impressive season in the Principality Premiership and being a key player in Wales’ Under-20 squad, Jones was invited back into the Blues Academy a year later, before signing with the Blues senior side for the 2012/13 season.

Looking back on his progression, Lewis contemplates his good fortune and his future ambitions: “I have had a bit of luck on my side this season. Unfortunately Lloyd [Williams] was banned, which meant I had a good run of games and a chance to start.

“I enjoy the way the Cardiff Blues play, as it is similar to the way I like playing and that has made my experience here all the more satisfying.

“My first European Cup game didn’t go according to plan, when I got sin binned against Sale, but playing against Toulon was a fantastic experience, competing against players of that calibre was a real eye opener.

Lewis is very much part of a young group of players that the Blues are developing and retaining for the long term.

“Obviously there is a lot of us coming up through the Blues at the moment and we are getting a lot of experience early on in our careers, which hopefully will benefit us as individuals and also as a squad.

“It makes you feel at home playing with boys your own age. I played with Harry Robinson, Macauley Cooke, Ellis Jenkins, Owen Williams and Tom Young at the Junior World Cup two years ago, and that helped me settle this year. Then there are the Welsh internationals who have a lot of experience and are ready to help.

“It’s an exciting time to be involved at the Blues so I’m glad to have signed a contract extension.”

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