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Welsh rugby teams retain some of their brightest stars

The Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys have retained some of their most talented Welsh players, it has been confirmed.

In addition to Sam Warburton and Tom James signing new contracts, Wales international trio Leigh Halfpenny, Bradley Davies and Chris Czekaj have signed contract extensions with the Blues.

Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby, David Young, said developing local Welsh talent was important to him.

He said: “I think it’s been well documented that we have to be sensible with our budgets and making sure that we are not overstretching ourselves financially.

“However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have ambition; we want to be up there pushing with the big guys.

“Obviously it’s important that we retain our quality players, as we look to rebuild, as all teams do.

“This is a part of that process, and a very important part, because over the next 12 to 18 months these players will be crucial and a big part of the future of Cardiff Blues over the next three or four years.”

Second row player Bradley Davies said: “It’s great news to have signed, not only for me personally, but for the rest of the boys who have signed also.

“It’s nice that we have got a core of young players who have extended their contracts and can drive the region forward.

“I think our academy system is showing its worth now; a lot of the boys have stepped up and played at a high level, either Heineken Cup, regional rugby or international level.

“There’s great work being done at the Academy in Trefforest and the region is bearing the fruits of that.”

The Blues have been further boosted by the contract extensions of Dafydd Hewitt, Josh Navidi, Andries Pretorius and James Down.

Meanwhile, the Ospreys have confirmed that hooker Scott Baldwin has signed a new two-year deal.

The 22-year-old was originally signed by the Ospreys in January 2009 after impressing in the Welsh Premiership with hometown club Bridgend.

Ospreys forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys said the team had high hopes for Scott, adding: “He’s a big guy, who has worked extremely hard on his game while he’s been with us and technically he is improving all the time.

“If he wants to continue his development and become a fully fledged Osprey, then he will need to show the diligence of the other young guys who have worn the shirt recently.”

After signing his new contract, Scott said: “Obviously I’m really happy to have re-signed; hopefully it means that the coaches have seen something in me for the future.

“The next two years will be massive for me now, with the new contract meaning I can focus on my development.”

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