Alex Cuthbert has confirmed he’s leaving the Cardiff Blues for the Aviva Premiership, which appears to put an end to his chances of winning further caps for Wales.
The winger says he is “excited” at the challenge that lies ahead after he sealed a move to reigning Aviva Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs.
The Wales and British and Irish Lions international has agreed a three-year deal with the Chiefs and will leave Cardiff Blues at the end of the season after seven years at the Arms Park.
The 27-year-old winger is Rob Baxter’s first new signing ahead of the 2018/19 season and is a prominent new addition to the Chiefs squad.
“I’m very excited about the move,” said Cuthbert. “I’ve played all of my rugby in Wales and I’ve enjoyed some fantastic times over the years, but I feel I’m at a stage in my career where I have to try something different and the challenge of going to Exeter and trying to prove myself in a new environment at the Chiefs is something that really appeals to me.
“Sitting down with Rob [Baxter] and Ali [Hepher] I liked what they had to say and where they said the club was looking to go in the future. Like a lot of people, I’ve watched how the Chiefs have not only developed into a force within the English game, but also in Europe as well over the last few years.
“They are champions of England at the moment, they are going very well again this season, and when you look at the squad they have down there, you can see it’s got a lot of talent within it and one which wants to really achieve things together.”
Cuthbert continued: “Speaking to people who know the club, they’ve all spoken positively about the place and the culture that exists amongst the players. As I said, it’s an exciting move for me, but also one in which I genuinely think I can get better with.
“I still feel at my age I have a lot to offer and by moving to Exeter, hopefully the coaches down there can help bring even more out in my game.”
With 47 Test caps to his name, plus a try-scoring appearance for the Lions in Australia back in 2013, the Chiefs are well aware they are recruiting a proven performance on the biggest stage in Cuthbert.
And the man himself is relishing the opportunity of testing his own credentials in the cut and thrust of the Aviva Premiership.
“It’s a tough league, every week it’s like a cup final,” added Cuthbert. “Playing in big games and in front of sell-out crowds, you can only get thrive of situations like that as a player. Yes, it’s going to be a new and different challenge to what I’ve been used to in the past, but I do think it will help to bring the best out in me.”
Before moving to Sandy Park, however, Cuthbert is keen to ensure he finishes his time with the Blues on a high note and says he’s determined to play his part in a strong end to the season.
“I’ll forever be grateful to the Blues for the opportunities they have given me,” continued Cuthbert. “It’s been a tough decision for me to make in terms of my future, but the time is right for me to try something new with the Chiefs.”
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