Cuthbert’s good news for Gatland

Lions hopeful Alex Cuthbert has given Warren Gatland an early Christmas present by re-signing with Cardiff Blues. [more]

Cuthbert’s good news for Gatland

Lions hopeful Alex Cuthbert has given Warren Gatland an early Christmas present by re-signing with Cardiff Blues.

Cuthbert has put pen to paper on a new three-year deal that will see him stay at the Arms Park until at least 2016.

His decision to remain with the region will be a huge boost for Wales and Lions boss Gatland who has seen a number of high-profile stars move overseas in recent seasons.

2009 Lions Mike Phillips, James Hook, Gethin Jenkins and Lee Byrne are all plying their trade in the Top 14, as are fellow internationals Luke Charteris, Huw Bennett and Aled Brew, while Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate have also decided to leave their respective sides in favour of a fresh challenge next term.

Cuthbert’s decision bucks that worrying trend of top talent leaving the four Welsh regions and it comes after months of speculation surrounding his future in which he was heavily linked with a move to Toulon and Racing Métro.

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"I had a lot of decisions to make, but this is the place I want to be to take my rugby career forward," said Cuthbert, who courted attention from the likes of

"I'm glad it's all sorted now. I'm happy in Cardiff and with the Blues. I get on really well with Phil Davies and the coaching staff and enjoy playing with the boys.

"It's great playing at the Arms Park. There's a top atmosphere with the crowd on top of you and it always lifts you to play in front of a packed house."

Cuthbert rose to prominence last season when he made his Wales debut as a replacement against Australia in December despite having played very little rugby for the Blues.

The former Sevens star went on to become a regular starter for Wales in 2012, scoring the winning try in the Grand Slam clinching win over France in March.

He currently has five tries to his name in 13 international appearances and is being tipped as a potential Lions tourist next summer.

And with his international future looking particularly bright, Cuthbert is convinced similar success is on the cards at the Blues as they continue to blood new talent.

"I've certainly seen the progress on the pitch," added Cuthbert when talking about the Blues’ prospects for the coming seasons.

"Although we may not be getting the results right now, we are just losing by narrow margins and you can tell it's coming.

"The likes of Rhys Patchell has just come in and stepped up to Heineken Cup level and that’s what we want here. Josh Navidi has come on loads also and is playing really well and it’s good to see Tom Williams and Owen Williams coming through also.

"A year or so on they will only be better with a bit more experience under their belts.

"Hopefully we will get some quality players in next season and hopefully those close losses will turn into wins for us.

"I'm just looking forward to the rest of the season, starting with our derby matches over Christmas at home to the Scarlets and the Dragons."

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