Matthew Rees and James Down extend Cardiff Blues stay
Last Updated: 20/07/15 3:37pm
Lock James Down and Wales and Lions hooker Matthew Rees, who fought off testicular cancer, have signed to return to the Cardiff Blues.
Front row Rees, who has won 60 caps for Wales and featured for the British & Irish Lions in 2009, had to take a break from the game after being diagnosed with testicular cancer in October 2013.
He had only joined the Blues from Scarlets for the start of that season but returned after recovering from treatment, playing a total of 34 games for the region before leaving the club in May this year.
Second row Down made a total of 63 appearances for Cardiff Blues between 2007 and 2014.
The 27-year-old, who stands 6ft 7in and weighs 125kg, played 19 times for London Welsh last season during the club's spell in the English top-flight.
Cardiff head coach Danny Wilson said: "I'm delighted that Matthew and James have re-signed for Cardiff Blues; both are very important and positive additions to our region as we prepare for the new season.
"I obviously know Matthew really well from our time together at Scarlets and we have a strong working relationship so I'm really pleased to have signed him.
"Matthew brings real leadership and vast experience to our squad. He will also be working closely with our young hookers to bring them on and develop them as players.
"James had a fantastic personal season at London Welsh and his stats in the Aviva Premiership were outstanding.
"He is a strong line-out forward and there is no doubt he returns to Cardiff Blues a better player.
"There was a lot of interest in James from clubs in both the Aviva Premiership and Top 14 in France.
"However, he is a local boy and passionate about playing his rugby for our region so we are delighted he is coming back home."