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PRO 14    

James seeks future outside Blues

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PRO 14    

Tom James' career at Cardiff is over a year earlier than planned

Tom James will leave Cardiff Blues at the end of the month, despite still having a year remaining on his contract. The 32-year-old has made 163 appearances and established himself as the region’s all-time top try-scorer with 60.

With the full support of Cardiff Blues, James took an extended break from the game to receive treatment for depression during the 2017/18 season but returned to competitive action in January. However, it has now been mutually agreed that the Wales international will depart the Arms Park with the best wishes of the entire region.

James said: “It’s been a frustrating season for me, and I would’ve liked to have pulled on a Cardiff Blues jersey one last time but I’m very grateful for the times I’ve had. The Blues have been unbelievable to me.

“Throughout my break from the game everyone was so supportive, from teammates and coaches to directors and supporters, but particularly the team doctor Gareth Jones, sports psychologist Dale Thomas and our WRPA representative Phil Davies who have been amazing.

“Cardiff Blues gave me that time off that I needed and stood beside me, and when I came back in, they have really looked after me.

“It was tough coming back in for pre-season following a long break and that also led to lots of little niggles that stunted my progress. That must have been frustrating for the coaches as well, but when you look at how well the other wings have been performing then you can understand.

“But over the last two months I’ve really felt like I am hitting my peak again. I have been pleased with my form in the Premiership and while that is a different level, I feel I stand out.

“I’ll just see what happens now. I will be training hard over the summer and if another professional contract comes up then I will definitely look at it with my family because I’m 100 per cent confident I can still do a job at the top level. I really wanted to get back into that Cardiff Blues first team, but it wasn’t to be.”

Cardiff chief executive Richard Holland led the tributes to James. “Tom leaves with the best wishes of everyone at Cardiff Blues and will remain very much part of our extended family. We’re committed to supporting former players and TJ is no different.

“He has been a great servant to Cardiff Blues, who has achieved so much over more than a decade with the region. I don’t think anyone will ever forget that try he scored against Leicester in the Heineken Cup.

“Naturally, as a prolific try-scorer he has been a firm fans favourite at the Arms Park and it remains to be seen whether anyone will reach his try-scoring record. He will be missed at the Arms Park but we wish Tom and his young family all the best for his next chapter.”

WATCH: The RugbyPass behind the scenes documentary on the 2018 Guinness PRO14 final

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Tom James' career at Cardiff is over a year earlier than planned