Cardiff Blues duo Jamie Roberts and John Yapp have signed contract extensions with the region to keep them with the Blues until 2013.
Following the news that Cardiff Blues stalwarts Deiniol Jones and Gareth Williams have signed new contracts with the region, the Blues have received a further boost with the news that Cardiff Blues centre, Jamie Roberts, and prop forward, John Yapp, have also signed new contracts.
Jamie, who was educated at Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf, is a product of the Blues Academy in Tefforest and made his debut for the region as a replacement in the pre-season friendly at Pontypridd back in August 2005.
He made his competitive debut for the Blues on the wing in the 17-15 point victory over the Ospreys in 2007. The next two matches against the Dragons and Glasgow Warriors, he scored three tries, and was called up to the Wales 2008 Six Nations squad. Jamie made his Wales debut against Scotland as Wales triumphed 30-15 as Wales went on to claim their second Grand Slam of the decade.
The twenty-two year old, who has played 47 times for the Blues, was instrumental in the their superb 2008/09 season that saw them reach the semi finals of the Heineken Cup and lift the EDF Energy Cup at Twickenham. A series of fine performances for the region saw him called up to the 2009 Lions tour of South Africa where he formed a formidable partnership with Brian O’Driscoll. Although losing the three test series by two tests to one, Roberts was named Lions Players of the Series.
Roberts has signed a new contract that will keep him with the Blues until 2013.
Despite success coming early in his rugby career Roberts feels he still has a lot to achieve in the game. Speaking ahead of the this Saturday’s match against Edinburgh Jamie said,
"I’m delighted to have signed a new contract with the Blues. Cardiff is my home city and I’m very passionate about sport in the city and Cardiff in general."
"It’s an exciting time for the Blues moving into the new stadium and also the superb new training facilities have been great."
"I’m fortunate that I’ve tasted some success early in my career but I remain as focused as ever to play my part in a successful Cardiff Blues team."
"Last season’s achievements and disappointments have driven myself and the whole squad to work harder and strive for bigger and better things."
"We are fortunate to have good strength in the centre positions at the Cardiff Blues with some quality players who are very competitive."
"Dai Young has always stressed that he wants two quality players in each position and there is certainly quality for me to compete with in the midfield at the Blues."
"The new contract also fits in perfectly with my part time academic studies at the School Of Medicine where I will hopefully graduate in 2013 if all goes to plan"
John Yapp burst onto the Cardiff club scene at Christmas 2002 and made his first team debut against Ebbw Vale on Boxing Day at the age of 18 years. He immediately captured the imagination of the supporters with his whole-hearted play and particularly his ball-carrying ability in the loose. Despite his young age he had featured in 17 of a possible 19 games by the end of the season.
Originally educated at Cowbridge Comprehensive School, John had first team experience with the Llantwit Major and Pontypridd before establishing himself with the Blues. John won his first cap for Wales as a substitute in the victory over England in the RBS 6 Nations in 2005 as Wales went on to claim their first Grand Slam since 1978.
In the summer of 2008 John travelled to Australia to play for Tuggeranong Vikings during the Northern hemispheres off season after making the decision to switch from playing loose head to playing tight head prop. He has signed a new two year contract with the Blues.
The popular prop forward has gone on to play 121 matches for the Blues but was dealt a blow earlier in the season when tore his bicep during the Blues’ victory over the Harlequins in the Heineken. John is currently in rehab and is expected to be back in action for the Blues early in early Spring.
Speaking at the Vale of Glamorgan Training Centre, John Yapp said,
"The rehab is coming along well and I’m aiming to be back by the end of March, hopefully for our matches against Ulster."
"The timing of the injury wasn’t great because it was so early in the season which was very frustrating."
"It’s part and parcel of the games these days, with the players getting bigger and stronger, but I’ve tried to take the positives out of it, and it’s given me plenty of time to put in some good training and work on my fitness."
"I’ve have great support from the Blues throughout my injury and it’s a real boost to be offered a new contract when I’ve been out so long."
"This is my eighth season with Cardiff and I didn’t think of looking to play for another team."
"I hope to make the switch to tight-head permanent that’s why the injury was so frustrating, I was playing loose-head as Gethin was injured and just when he came back I got injured."
"However, I enjoy playing tight-head which is a lot harder as you are more of an anchor at the scrum and being targeted by two players rather than one."
Cardiff Blues Director of rugby David Young said,
"Both John and Jamie are integral to our plans going forward with the Cardiff Blues, so I’m delighted that they have both signed new contracts with the region."
"They are both local boys who have come through the system and it shows our commitment to developing and keeping local talent."
"Both players have achieved a lot in their careers so far but I’m sure we haven’t seen the best of John and Jamie yet."
"We are building a strong squad here at the Blues and to keep the services of quality players is hugely important to us."