With the news that Gareth Williams is being forced to retire due to neck injury and T Rhys Thomas undergoing knee surgery, Cardiff Blues have looked to strengthen their options in the front row.

The Blues have signed former Western Force hooker Ryan Tyrrell and former Ospreys hooker Marc Breeze. They have also further strengthened the front row with the signings of prop forward Jamie Corsi.

Tyrrell made his Super Rugby debut in week two of 2010 against the Hurricanes in Wellington and played four consecutive matches before suffering a neck injury against the Waratahs in Perth which ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

While it was feared that the injury could force him from the game immediately he returned following surgery to be one of the best performers in pre-season preparations for 2011.

Tyrrell was one of the success stories of West Australian rugby having made his way through the local ranks to play at the highest provincial level. He started his career at Rockingham, winning the 2008 PG Hampshire Award as the best player in the WA Premier Grade, before making his way through the RugbyWA Academy and into the senior ranks where his dedication and fearless approach earned high praise from coaches and teammates alike.

Speaking at the Vale of Glamorgan training centre, Ryan Tyrrell said, “Everyone been very responsive in helping me settle in, which has been great, and it almost feels like home away from away already.”

“It’s been good, so I couldn’t have asked for a better settling in period, from the players and coaching staff. The training is similar to what I’m used to back home, but obviously it takes a bit of time to settle in with the moves and calls and so on, but the boys have been great in helping me.”

“I’ve been very impressed with the facilities and that was a massive decision in me hoping to sign. Just seeing the facilities and how the players react to it makes you want to be part of it. The set up here is as good as, if not better than the one we had at Western Force.”

“It was a good experience to play out in Aironi and up in Newcastle. It blew a few cobwebs away. I didn’t feel too far off the pace of the game so I was happy with that.”

A tight head prop, Jamie Corsi played all of his junior club rugby at lock and Number 8 for Rumney RFC where he gained representative honours for Cardiff Districts, Newport Schools and Gwent Schools. He then moved on to Pontypool Utd RFC where he was part of the Gwent U/16 championship winning team, before switching to tight head prop, a position from where he won the first of his many Wales schoolboy caps. He also had a short spell with Newport High School Old Boys RFC before signing an academy contract with the Newport Gwent Dragons.

He was an integral part of the Wales under 19 grand-slam winning side of 2006, and also represented Wales at the 2006 Under 19 Rugby World Cup in Dubai where, along with Wales captain Bradley Davies, he was one of only two Welshmen to be selected in the organisers “World Cup – Team of the Tournament”.

Corsi has represented Wales at Under 16, 18, 19 and 20 age groups and was selected for the Wales senior squad to tour Australia in May 2007. At the end of the 2008–09 season Corsi left the Dragons and signed for the Scarlets before joining London Wasps.

Jamie spent the last nine months in New Zealand playing for South Auckland at Papatoetoe RFC, playing in Auckland’s premier competition. During this time they won the premiership trophy, the Alan McEvoy Shield. From club rugby he was selected into Auckland ITM Cup (NPC) preparations, playing in two games against Waikato and Northland. When the Auckland Blues players returned from Super 15, he was offered a contract with Northland for their ITM Cup campaign and was loaned out there where he played in their NPC campaign before returning to Wales.

Hooker, Marc Breeze, joins Cardiff Blues from Aberavon RFC. Breeze, converted from playing in the back row to hooker under the guidance of former Wales hooker, Garin Jenkins. The former Ospreys hooker left Wales in 2010 to join English Championship outfit, London Welsh RFC, before returning to Wales this season to play for Aberavon.
Name: Ryan Tyrrell
Born: 9 November, 1983
Position: Hooker
Height: 183cm
Weight: 114kg

Name: Jamie Corsi
Born: 30 December 1987
Birthplace: Cardiff
Position: Tight head prop
Height: 191cm
Weight: 112kg

Name: Marc Breeze
Born: 11/02/1987
Position: Hooker
Height: 190cm
Weight: 109kg