TONY Atherton, Chairman of Selectors at New Brighton Rugby Club, could hardly contain his delight at signing Hew Thomas from Leeds.

The highly rated 24-year-old prop 'pocket battleship' joins the Blues after a successful season in the Allied Dunbar Premiership with Leeds.

"Some players fill you with excitement and confidence, and I'm sure Hew's pace and power will delight the fans and greatly strengthen our championship challenge," said an ebullient Atherton.

The arrival of Thomas at Reeds Lane has thrown into question the future of long serving Steve Dorrington, and with Phil Gazolla expected to return to the Blues' squad following a spell in the Canadian Super League, the pressure for first team places is becoming intense.

Indeed, such is the quality of the new look Blues, fans favourites Ian Kennedy and Murray King are not even assured of a starting place!

The Blues have also added Rhys Hughes, an experienced scrum-half from Wales, to their ranks.

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