Cardiff Blues will try to keep Lions 'icons' Warburton and Halfpenny

Leigh Halfpenny and Sam Warburton

Talks to keep "iconic" players Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny in Wales are going well, according to Cardiff Blues chairman Peter Thomas.

The Wales and British and Irish Lions pair are out of contract at the Blues at the end of the 2013-14 season.

The Blues saw their Wales and Lions centre, Jamie Roberts, in Paris this summer.

"It is all proceeding well," said Thomas about the talks.

Flanker Warburton was the victorious captain of the 2013 Lions, leading them to a 2-1 Test series victory over Australia despite missing the third and final Test in Sydney because of injury.

Full-back Halfpenny, who was man-of-the-match in the Lions' 41-16 win over the Wallabies, was voted man of the series for his contribution in the series.

Blues chief executive Richard Holland has publicly stated they are hopeful of agreeing new contracts with Warburton and Halfpenny.

However, Warburton - who will miss the first part of the season because of a hamstring injury - has said he is in no rush to make a decision on his future.

Chairman Thomas compares the pair to "iconic" New Zealand players Richie McCaw and Dan Carter and claims Welsh rugby will do everything to make sure they keep playing rugby in Wales.

"I think it has been said if you look at New Zealand, there are two iconic players - Richie McCaw and Dan Carter," said Thomas.

"We are very fortunate in Wales that we have two iconic players in Sam Warburton, captain of the Lions and of Wales, and Leigh Halfpenny, player of the Lions tour, who both happen to be Blues players.

"I know our governing body, the Welsh Rugby Union, working in conjunction with us at Cardiff Blues, will do everything to retain them in Wales."

The WRU announced in June it would make an extra £1m available, some of which might be used to keep players in Wales after the high-profile departures of Roberts and flanker Dan Lydiate to France, and wing George North to Northampton Saints.

"It [the £1m] is a huge start and I applauded what the WRU has done in putting this million pounds forward," said Thomas.

"It will go a long, long way to securing our best players in Wales. What we as the PRGB [Professional Regional Game Board] and the governing body have to decide on is how wisely it is spent."

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