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Cardiff sign-up two new props for next season

Cardiff Rugby have moved quickly to replace the departing Rhys Carre by signing two new looseheads for next season.

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Six-times capped Irish international Ed Byrne, a veteran of 10 seasons at Leinster, will be heading to the Arms Park this summer along with 25-year-old Exeter Chiefs prop Danny Southworth.

While Byrne will arrive from Dublin with a huge amount of top-level experience, Southworth will make the switch from the Gallagher Premiership to the BKT United Rugby Championship with a burgeoning reputation.

Although hailing from Barnstaple, Southworth has a Welsh qualification via his grandparents. He and Byrne will join Welsh international Corey Domachowski and Rhys Barrett battling for the No 1 jersey at the capital city club next season.

Southworth was a second half replacement in the Chiefs Investec Champions Cup quarter-final defeat in Toulouse. Byrne has been battling with Andrew Porter and Cian Healy ahead for the Leinster loosehead spot but will still arrive with more than 100 appearances for Leinster under his belt.

The 30-year-old will arrive at the Arms Park in the summer, and says he is relishing the change of scenery and is determined to help Cardiff turn their potential into results.

“I’m unbelievably excited about the move to Cardiff. I love the brand of rugby they play,” said Byrne.

“I’ve been fortunate to play at Cardiff Arms Park a good few times and it has always been an incredible atmosphere with great supporters. I can’t wait to run out in front of them in a Cardiff jersey.

“I’ve spoken with Matt Sherratt at length and it’s really exciting to hear the vision he has for the club and the direction they are going. With so many incredible players, and all the young lads who have burst onto the scene for Cardiff and Wales in the last couple of years, it is a really exciting time and opportunity for me.”

While injuries blighted the early part of his career, he has been a member of numerous Ireland squads and Sherratt is pleased to be able to bring in a player with such vast experience.

“It’s great to be able to bring someone of Ed’s quality and experience into our squad as we continue to build. I’ve got a very clear picture of our game model and Ed matches that, whilst also being able to add experience and help mentor our younger lads,” said Sherratt.

“With a young squad and a number of experienced players retiring or moving on, Ed will bring all of his knowledge and experience from a top-level winning environment.

“He is a member of Leinster’s leadership group and I’ve spoken to a number of his coaches from over the years and they could not speak highly enough of his qualities as a player and person.

“To play at Leinster for a decade and gain six Ireland caps shows Ed is a top-quality player. He will be available all year round and will compete with the likes of Corey Domachowski and Danny Southworth for the starting jersey, whilst helping our promising youngster Rhys Barrett to progress.”

Standing at 6ft and weighing more than 18 stones, Southworth is a converted No8 who brings a sizeable presence to the front-row. He is also a strong ball-carrier.

“It was a hard decision to leave Exeter, which is my hometown club and somewhere with boys I have played alongside my whole life,” said Southworth.

“But this is a fantastic opportunity for me to play in a different league with new experiences and playing styles. I’m hoping to play a lot of games in the URC and Europe and bring my abilities to Cardiff.

“I’ve been impressed by the brand of rugby Cardiff play and the amount of players coming through so it is a really exciting opportunity for me to experience a new brand of rugby, new coaches, new teammates and a new city.

“After five-six years at Exeter, I feel this is the right time for a new challenge. I am excited to see how far I can go in a new environment.”

Sherratt is pleased to have four good loosehead options available to him for next season.

“We’re really pleased to bring Danny to the club to further enhance our environment and competition at loose-head. He is Welsh qualified and has ambitions to play international rugby,” he said.

“He has come through a quality program down in Exeter and earned his place in their squad by performing as a young man in National One and the Championship, which says a lot about his motivation and hunger to succeed. He is a former number eight so can contribute around the field and his set piece, in particular his scrum, is excellent.

“He has featured a lot for Exeter this season and did very well coming on in the Champions Cup knockout stages and last 4 rounds of the Premiership.”

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Cardiff sign-up two new props for next season
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Cardiff sign-up two new props for next season
Cardiff sign-up two new props for next season
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Cardiff sign-up two new props for next season
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Cardiff sign-up two new props for next season
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Cardiff sign-up two new props for next season
Cardiff sign-up two new props for next season
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Cardiff sign-up two new props for next season
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Cardiff sign-up two new props for next season