Cardiff Blues have confirmed the signing of experienced second-row Damian Welch, who will join from Exeter ahead of the 2017/18 season.
The versatile forward came through the ranks at Wales’ capital region and worked with Danny Wilson at Cardiff RFC before going to Scarlets.
He further enhanced his reputation after a move to join Exeter Chiefs in 2012 and has made 67 appearances over five seasons at Sandy Park. But he is now relishing a return to the city in which he began his career.
“I’m really looking forward to going back to a club which pretty much started my professional career,” said Welch.
“I lived in Cardiff for 12 years previously, through university and rugby – it’s a city I love and a place where I have a lot of strong ties and family. It will always be the place where I fell in love with rugby.
“It’s great to be heading back and Danny (Wilson) had a big bearing. He was my coach at Cardiff RFC so I’m really excited about working with him again.
“Cardiff Blues are building an exciting and ambitious squad and I’m looking forward to getting back across the bridge to play my part in that.”
Welch, who stands at 6ft 6ins and weighs in at 18st 13lbs, will bring a wealth of experience to the Blues and head coach Wilson is relishing the addition.
His signing comes just a day after Cardiff Blues brought Jack Roberts back to Wales from Leicester Tigers and he is the second second-row to join, following Franco van der Merwe.
“We’re delighted to bring Damian on board for the 2017/18 season,” said Wilson.
“He is a very athletic second row and a good lineout forward who has gained valuable experienced in the Aviva premiership since leaving Wales.
“We have identified the second-row as an area we needed to bolster and following the signing of Franco van der Merwe, we feel we have done that.”