Shane Lewis-Hughes has been rewarded for his impressive form with a long-term senior contract at Cardiff Blues.
The versatile forward, who specialises at blindside flanker, has enjoyed a breakthrough season at Cardiff Arms Park having been handed his Heineken Champions Cup debut at the start of the year against Glasgow Warriors.
He has featured in every game since, taking his overall tally of senior appearances to 14, and enhanced his already formidable reputation.
That form and future potential has seen the Wales age-grade international handed a senior deal and he is determined to continue his progress.
Lewis-Hughes, 21, said: “I’m really grateful to have been given the opportunity this season. I had my first start up in Glasgow and realised how big a game it was for me.
“I had to perform, and I felt I did my job. The coaches were happy, and things have been good since. Now I’m really keen now to keep getting better and better.”
Lewis-Hughes is the third academy graduate to sign a new deal today, following on from James Botham and Keiron Assiratti.
Twenty-five of the current first team squad are academy graduates with a new generation establishing themselves in the Blues’ first team squad.
And Lewis-Hughes admits the rapid progression of the likes of Dillon Lewis, Jarrod Evans and Owen Lane gives confidence as he looks to his own future.
He continued: “It does give you a lot of confidence. Mulvers is keen to give young players opportunities and then it is down to the individual to take that chance. I am loving every single minute at the moment
“There are so many quality young players coming through and looking to what some of the boys have achieved you realise that things can really kick on overnight.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I would be lying if playing for Wales wasn’t an ambition and that’s always going to be in my sights, but the aim now is to really establish myself in that first team squad and to build from there.”
John Mulvihill has been impressed with the manner Lewis-Hughes has grasped his opportunity and his relentless desire to improve.
He added: “Shane has taken his opportunities well this year and has had real impact in some of our biggest games this season.
“He is a very focused individual with a very bright future who prepares each week to best the best he can be come game day.
“He brings real energy and the right physicality to make a big impact for the Cardiff Blues.”