Rory Thornton has completed a permanent switch to Cardiff Blues from the Ospreys, following a successful season-long loan at Cardiff Arms Park.
The 6ft 7in lock made 20 appearances for the Blues during his debut season, making his Cardiff Blues debut against Leinster on the opening day of last season and went on to play his part in 14 Guinness PRO14 fixtures, as well as five pool stage matches in the Heineken Champions Cup.
“Cardiff Blues have shown big faith in me by offering me this permanent deal, and that has been a huge thing for me. I really enjoyed my first season, and it’s a great opportunity to continue my progress here,” the 24-year-old.
“At the start of the season, I struggled a little bit coming off the back a shoulder injury, but it was about getting some confidence back and having a run of games under my belt.
“Towards the second half of the season, I felt I was getting back into form and I’m excited to have an opportunity to kick on next season and build on that with Cardiff Blues.
“I met John (Mulvihill) for the first time at the start of last season, and he really set a good impression on me before I came, and I know the likes of Tom Smith, Richard Hodges and Jason Strange from working with them in the past.
“There’s big potential in this team, and I find the way we’re playing really exciting, especially with the likes of Jarrod at 10 and having boys like Owen Lane, Aled Summerhill and the new signings out wide.
“Ospreys obviously played a big role in my development, and I’m thankful to the organisation for their support over the years, but now I’m really excited to start a new chapter and making this move is the best step for my career.”
Thornton, a former Wales under-20 captain, has been included in several Wales senior squads and toured the Pacific Isles in 2017, making his debut in the 19-17 victory over Samoa.
Head coach John Mulvihill is delighted to welcome the lock back into the squad on a permanent basis as he continues to build for the future with Hallam Amos, Josh Adams and Will Boyde also joining the region.
He added: “Rory really impressed us during his loan spell, and we’re delighted to welcome him back to the Cardiff Arms Park for the foreseeable future.
“His form, particularly in the second half of last season, saw him becoming an important player during the run-in, and his ability in the set-piece is going to be crucial for us.
“He slotted into the squad culture immediately, which is always important when recruiting, and I know he’s very excited to have the opportunity to continue his Cardiff Blues career.”
Thorton came through the ranks of the Ospreys Academy, the former Bonymaen RFC youngster played 59 times for his home Region, injury restricting him to just four appearances in his final season before heading to Cardiff last summer.
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