Cardiff Blues: Matthew Rees set to return after cancer treatment

Matthew Rees

Matthew Rees has been named in the Cardiff Blues squad, for the visit of Ulster on Saturday, for the first time since undergoing treatment for cancer.

Former Wales skipper Rees, 33, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in October 2013 and underwent treatment at Cardiff's Velindre Cancer Centre.external-link

Blues caretaker coach Dale McIntosh is thrilled with Rees' return to health.

"To get over what he's got over and to come back to this level of rugby is absolutely unbelievable," he said.

"It's an inspiration to us all."

Rees has not played since the 29-12 win over Edinburgh on 6 October.

Cardiff Blues raised money for the hospital where Matthew Rees had treatment

The Blues announced in February that the former British and Irish Lions hooker had been given the all-clear to resume training following treatment.

Rees is expected to make an appearance off the bench when the Blues take on second-placed Ulster in the Pro12 at Cardiff Arms Park.

And Paul John - who is sharing caretaker coaching duties with McIntosh - feels Rees' recovery is an inspiration to the Blues and the game in general.

"The whole of Welsh rugby and world rugby will be glad to see him back playing," said John.

"It's important that he's playing, back healthy and we're all chuffed to bits with that and it will be a lift for everyone.

"This thing that Matthew has gone through, it's more important than rugby and the fact that he's back enjoying his training everyone should realise how lucky they are."

Rees joined the Blues from the Scarlets at the end of the 2012-13 season and was immediately named captain of the Cardiff-based region.

But the 58-times capped Rees made only six appearances before his diagnosis.

While Rees was undergoing treatment, more than 30 players and staff at the Blues raised over £12,500 for the Velindre Centre by shaving their heads.