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Page last updated at 15:11 GMT, Sunday, 23 January 2011

Dai Young to start Cardiff Blues 'rebuilding' process

Martyn Williams and Tom Shanklin
Martyn Williams and Tom Shanklin have 168 Wales caps between them

Dai Young will start the Cardiff Blues rebuilding project as the Welsh region are set to release experienced Wales stars Tom Shanklin and Martyn Williams.

The British and Irish Lions pair are out of contract at the end of the season as boss Young insists the Blues must be 'financially sensible.'

"We are on a bit of a crossroads," said Young after the Blues failed to make the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

"Father time is against us for a lot of members of the squad."

Wales flanker Williams and international team-mate centre Shanklin are double Grand Slam winners and helped inspire the Blues to the Heineken Cup semi-finals in 2009 and Amlin Cup Challenge trophy in 2010.

But three-times Lions tourist Williams, man-of-the-series as Wales won their first Grand Slam for 27 years in 2005, is 36 in September and Blues have a ready-made open-side replacement in Wales international Sam Warburton.

Shanklin, meanwhile, has suffered chronic knee problems and the 31-year-old will miss the entire 2011 Six Nations as he requires further knee surgery.

And Blues chairman Peter Thomas confirmed their deals at the Cardiff City Stadium will not be renewed after their disappointing European exit this season.

We are not losing our ambition but we have got to be sensible. It's cuts across the board and we have got to look how best we can move this club forward

Cardiff Blues director of rugby Dai Young

"Old Father Time catches up with everybody," Thomas told the Magners League website.

"They are both coming out of contract and part of the cutbacks are that people who are out of contract can't be retained because other people are in contract.

"Over the last few years, and this season in particular, we have thrown the financial kitchen sink at the squad. Our squad cost for this season is £5m."

Williams, who has won 98 Wales caps, and 70-times capped Welshman Shanklin are in the twilight of their careers.
And next season both will be unavailable for their region until the end of October as Williams and Shanklin are expected to be on Wales duty at the Rugby World Cup.

The Blues finished second in Pool One of the Heineken Cup behind all-conquering Northampton Saints who romped through to the knock-out stages with a 100% record.

And Blues director of rugby Young insists there will be "cuts across the board" as the Blues aim to trim their £5m-a-season wage bill by £750,000.

"We are no different to any other team," said Young.

"We have given our best crack this season financially with the squad we have. It's the most expensive squad we have had.

"We have got to be sensible and put a proper business plan together. Obviously we can't spend more than we are bringing in.

"So certainly over the next two years we are going to be on a sensible budget. People that are out of contract, we are struggling to find money to renew them.

"Everything has to be looked as a whole. As a squad it's making sure we still move forward.

"We are not losing our ambition but we have got to be sensible. It's cuts across the board and we have got to look how best we can move this club forward.

"We have to look at the squad and make sure we're in a better position next year.

"We have start to rebuild but continue to compete year on year.

"I don't believe in a transition period, that can be used as a bit of an excuse, but we have to be just as strong, if not stronger, next year.

"As we will have a cross-over in the squad with some boys going out that unfortunately father time has caught up with and some of the younger boys coming through."

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see also
Edinburgh 14-21 Cardiff Blues
22 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union
Welsh regions 'second' to Wales
19 Jan 11 |  Cardiff Blues
Wales suffer Shanklin injury blow
18 Jan 11 |  Cardiff Blues
Wales back Williams to make 100
17 Mar 10 |  Welsh
Gatland wants Williams for 2011
29 Jan 09 |  Welsh
Shanklin ruled out of Lions tour
08 May 09 |  Cardiff Blues
Williams makes shock Wales return
14 Jan 08 |  Welsh
Flanker Williams ends Wales duty
01 Oct 07 |  Welsh
Williams tops Six Nations poll
15 Feb 05 |  Internationals
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
RaboDirect Pro12
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Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
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