What the signing of Rhys Priestland means for Jarrod Evans as Cardiff Blues reveal their stance on their out-of-contract fly-half

Dai Young admits it would be “a nightmare scenario” for Cardiff Blues to lose Jarrod Evans following the signing of fellow fly-half Rhys Priestland.

Wales squad member Evans is out of contract at the end of this season and has been targeted by a number of English clubs.

If he were to head over the bridge, it would bring a halt to his international career under the 60-cap rule, as he is long way short of the required mark on six caps.

But the Blues are confident the 24-year-old will stay at the Arms Park to contest the No 10 jersey with fellow international Priestland, who has signed from Bath.

“It would be a bit of a nightmare scenario for us if you bring someone like Rhys on board then lose Jarrod,” said director of rugby Young.

“That was never the intention.

“We are pretty confident Jarrod wants to stay and hopefully we can get it over the line sooner rather than later.

“There are lots of things you discuss with players, rugby is one, finance is another.

“We are in negotiations with Jarrod and the WRU to try and get that across the line.

“The rugby discussions have taken place and my perception is he is more than happy with that.

“Now it’s just a matter of everyone being happy with the deal we can put out there and we are confident that can be agreed.

“He’s certainly a big part of our plans and it’s a case of him and Rhys working together, not either or.”

The salaries of Wales’ elite 38 home-based players are decided by the WRU as part of their wage banding structure and that’s a process that is ongoing in Evans’ case.

Turning to the recruitment of the 34-year-old Priestland, Young said: “I think it’s a fantastic signing by the club.

“You’ve got the experience and know-how he can bring to the squad and part of the role is hopefully to keep on the improvement with Jarrod.

“Jarrod is a young man, I know he is excited about working with Rhys.

“If you have got two of three players of real quality vying for the same position they push each other to higher levels and it makes my job so much easier.

“It also means you can look after them properly and rest them when they need to be rested. You don’t overplay players, you look after them conditioning-wise.”

Bath fly-half Rhys Priestland is joining Cardiff Blues next season

Meanwhile, there’s continuing good news about Ellis Jenkins’ return to rugby after more than two years out with a horrific knee injury.

The flanker came through his try-scoring comeback against the Ospreys unscathed and will now start Saturday’s PRO14 clash with Connacht out in Galway.

“Ellis will definitely be involved and we want him to start because when you are coming back from injury it’s much easier to start,” said Young.

“He showed last week during his 40 minutes that there is no issue with him starting. He’s done enough conditioning for that.

“Whether he will go 80 minutes is another thing, but we will be getting him out there and looking forward to him building on what must have been a big game for him mentally to get over that hurdle of getting out there on the field.

“I thought he did a great job, got better and more confident as the game went on and walked off with a smile on his face, which is the important thing.”

The Blues are further boosted by prop Rhys Carre and scrum-half Lloyd Williams having been released by Wales to feature against Connacht.

“We are happy with that,” said Young.

“We know over this period we are going to be without internationals.

“It’s not a surprise to us, it’s agreed. You have got to plan for those situations.

“If Wayne feels he wants to give one or two of those guys a game, so be it. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t.”


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