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Page last updated at 18:12 GMT, Sunday, 23 August 2009 19:12 UK

Veteran Thomas wins Young plaudit

Gareth Thomas is caught in possession
Gareth Thomas faces stiff competition for a three-quarter place

Cardiff Blues coach Dai Young praised former Wales and Lions captain Gareth Thomas after Friday's 5-14 pre-season friendly defeat to Leicester.

"For a 35-year-old I thought Gareth was outstanding in the effort he showed all game," Young told BBC Sport Wales.

Thomas faces stiff competition for a Blues three-quarter place this season.

Summer centre recruits Casey Laulala, Dafydd James and Gavin Evans have joined Thomas, Jamie Roberts, Dafydd Hewitt and Tom Shanklin in the squad.

Leigh Halfpenny, Chris Czekaj, Tom James, Ben Blair, James and Roberts are all potential choices on the wing.

But injuries are limiting the Blues' choices in the backs at the moment, Young reserving praise for young Cardiff RFC winger Ryan Howells.

"I thought that Ryan really stood out [against Leicester]," said Young.

"We had the forwards to rotate but not the backs.

"There are things to improve on and some handling skills let us down, but we were playing against a quality outfit.

"Another hit out and we will be closer to where we want to be."

Young was pleased with the region's first game at the new Cardiff City Stadium.


"There was a good atmosphere, it showed that people want to come here to watch.

"There were 16,000 - we couldn't have got that many into the Arms Park.

"It's progress, you've got to move things forward. People are always afraid of change.

"If they have any doubts I can only say to come to the stadium and you'll have your head turned."

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see also
Cardiff Blues 5-14 Leicester
21 Aug 09 |  Cardiff Blues
Blues competition inspires Evans
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James targets return for Wales
15 Aug 09 |  Welsh
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RaboDirect Pro12
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Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
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