Cardiff Blues are delighted to confirm the appointment of Thomas Rhys Thomas as academy skills coach ahead of the 2018/19 season.
The former Wales hooker spent 10 seasons with the region as a player, before making a switch to London Wasps in 2012. Thomas won 27 caps on the international stage, representing his country at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
In 2013, he moved to Dragons, where he spent four seasons and was appointed captain, before joining the coaching team after retiring from his playing career.
Thomas joins former Cardiff Blues team-mates Richie Rees, Duane Goodfield and Robin Sowden-Taylor as part of the current back-room staff.
Rees and Goodfield are also part of the academy staff, alongside new academy manager, Gruff Rees.
The 36-year-old is delighted to return to Wales’ Capital Region, and is excited at the opportunity to work as part of the region’s thriving youth system.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with the Dragons and can’t thank them enough for the opportunity they gave me as a young coach,” said Thomas.
“However, I knew that any opportunity to come back to the Cardiff Blues would be special, and an offer that I couldn’t refuse.
“It’s a club that is close to my heart, having been born and raised in the region and spent the majority of my playing career here. It feels like I’m coming home.
“The direction the club is heading towards is exciting, on the back of a hugely successful campaign, and I can’t wait to work with the region’s academy system, as there are some really promising talent coming through.
“As a coach, I’m still young and still learning, and am looking forward to working alongside talented coaches such as Duane Goodfield and Richie Rees, both of whom I know from my previous time here.”
Richard Holland is proud to be able to welcome the former fans favourite back to the Arms Park, and believes it is another sign of the region’s commitment to develop young Welsh coaches.
Holland said: “It’s great to have Rhys back here at Cardiff Blues. He was very popular during his time here as a player, both on and off the field, and I have no doubt he will also be popular as a coach.
“He made 180 appearances for the side, and was born and bred in the region, so he knows the club inside-out, which will be of huge benefit to the host of youngsters he will be working with.
“Giving opportunities to young Welsh coaches, such as Rhys, to develop is a vital element of what we’re trying to achieve here at Cardiff Blues, and I’m looking forward to seeing him work alongside Duane and Richie in the academy system.”