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Thomas Young paves way for Wales recall after signing for Cardiff

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Thomas Young has paved the way for his return to the Wales squad for the upcoming autumn internationals by announcing he is to leave Wasps at the end of the 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership and join Cardiff, the club where his dad Dai is now in charge. The 29-year-old earned the last of his three Test caps in February 2019 before a contract extension at the English club ruled him out of Wales selection due to the 60-cap rule for non-Welsh players coming into play. 

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That line in the sand will now be stepped over with Young expected to be named in Wayne Pivac’s squad on Wednesday afternoon after the flanker confirmed earlier in the day that he plans to switch Wasps for Cardiff and play again under his father, who had been director of rugby at Wasps until February 2020. 

Young said: “I am really excited to have this opportunity at Cardiff and I’m looking forward to returning home to Wales. It was a difficult decision to make because I have had such an enjoyable time at Wasps and learnt so much, which I remain very grateful for, but I’m also a proud Welshman and the opportunity to stake a claim for further international honours was too great to turn down. 

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“Once I made that decision, Cardiff was always my preference – this is my home club. I was born and bred in the Cynon Valley, I played all of my age-grade rugby for the region and still have a lot of friends here from that time. I’m looking forward to linking up with the boys and contributing next season but remain fully committed to Wasps and want to sign off on a high.

“It has been an honour to play for Wasps, such a great club. I would like to thank everyone at Wasps for helping me develop as a player, on and off the pitch over the past few years. Looking back over my seven years at the club, I have so many great memories and I have made some lifelong friendships. I will give it my all to finish my time here on a high.”

Current Wasps boss Lee Blackett wished Young well after the decision to leave at the end of the current season was confirmed. “While we are obviously disappointed to see Thomas leave, we fully understand his reasons for needing to play in Wales. Thomas has always added a great value on and off the field and he is highly respected by everyone at the club. He has been a great servant to Wasps and a pleasure to coach, and everyone here would like to wish him, Emma and Ava all the best for the future. We look forward to seeing him play many more times for Wales.”

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Over at the Arms Park, Dai Young said: “When Thomas made the decision to return to Wales, we were of course very keen to bring him home to Cardiff – that goes for me, the coaches and board. It is my job to improve and develop this squad and I have no doubt that Thomas will significantly add to our strength and depth in the back-row and drive standards in our environment. 

“He suits the style we want to play and I know he will do his talking on the pitch and show everyone in Wales how good he is. This is just the first in a number of signings we will make in this building process and the journey we are on. I know the positions we want to strengthen and we will continue to do that.”

Fresh from a man-of-the-match performance in last Sunday’s derby win by Wasps over Northampton, the expectation now is for Young to be included in the Wales squad as Pivac is down on flankers as Justin Tipuric, James Botham, Josh Macleod and Josh Navidi are all on the casualty list.

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