Rees back with Cardiff Blues

Date published: July 20 2015

Cardiff Blues have confirmed that hooker Matthew Rees and second-row James Down have re-signed for the region ahead of the new campaign.

Rees, who has won 60 caps for Wales and featured for the British and Irish Lions in 2009, will once again add his experience to the forward ranks.

The 34-year-old previously played 34 games for the region, after initially joining from Scarlets in 2013.

Second-row Down made a total of 63 appearances for Cardiff Blues between 2007 and 2014.

The 27-year-old – who stands 6ft 7in and weighs 125kg – featured on 19 occasions for London Welsh last season during the club's spell in the English top-flight.

"I'm delighted that Matthew and James have re-signed for Cardiff Blues; both are very important and positive additions to our region as we prepare for the new season," said head coach Danny Wilson.

"I obviously know Matthew really well from our time together at Scarlets and we have a strong working relationship so I'm really pleased to have signed him.

"Matthew brings real leadership and vast experience to our squad. He will also be working closely with our young hookers to bring them on and develop them as players.

"James had a fantastic personal season at London Welsh and his stats in the Aviva Premiership were outstanding.

"He is a strong lineout forward and there is no doubt he returns to Cardiff Blues a better player.

"There was a lot of interest in James from clubs in both the Aviva Premiership and Top 14 in France. However, he is a local boy and passionate about playing his rugby for our region so we are delighted he is coming back home."