8:32am Friday 10th January 2014
CARDIFF Blues are lining up a move for Newport Gwent Dragons back row forward Ieuan Jones, writes Chris Kirwan.
The 20-year-old is out of contract this summer and the Blues will make him an offer to move to the capital.
Jones was looking to make an impact with the Dragons this season after starring in the Junior World Championship with Wales Under-20s but the number eight from Aberbargoed has found chances hard to come by.
He has made just three starts in low-profile games – the Amlin Challenge Cup clash with Italian minnows Mogliano and the LV= Cup encounters with the Scarlets and London Wasps – and failed to make a major impact in his seven substitute appearances.
Jones' route to the first team has been blocked by the considerable frames of Wales and Lions star Toby Faletau and Fijian ace Netani Talei.
Faletau is first choice and signed a fresh deal with the region last year that will keep him at Rodney Parade until at least 2016 while Talei, who also plays blindside flanker, has proved to be a hit since signing from Edinburgh on a two-year deal last summer.
There appears to be a better chance of game time with the Blues, who are in the hunt for a new number eight because Robin Copeland is returning to Ireland with Munster and Andries Pretorius is heading to Worcester.
Director of rugby Phil Davies has said that the Blues are aiming to hold on to Wales stars Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny while adding "four, five or six" new recruits.
He said: "We've got to keep working through trying to keep our best players and also trying to recruit some quality players as well.
"We've got a huge turnaround in players, but we're trying now to actively keep as many as we possibly can because we've got a lot of quality, young players.
"And we particularly want to keep our top players and then and add four, five or six on top of what we've got."
The Blues have also been linked with Scarlets and Wales back row forward Josh Turbull.
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