‘The Chief’ lays down the law for Wales: Dale McIntosh

10 Mar

Dale McIntosh drives Pontypridd forward

Dale “The Chief” McIntosh was a player respected and feared in equal measure during his days as a rampaging number eight for Pontypridd.

 

After retiring and becoming a coach, McIntosh is still as physically imposing as he was in his pomp at Sardis Road.

And in his current role as coach of the Cardiff Blues Under 18 side, McIntosh is now focused on instilling his rugby ethos into a new generation of Welsh players.

“The Blues are built on honesty and working hard for each other” said McIntosh. “I expect the smallest man on the pitch to be as physical as the biggest, and the biggest guy to be as elusive as the smallest.”

It would take a brave man to disagree with McIntosh, who is as convincing a speaker as he was a powerful runner.

The New Zealand-born former Welsh international also coaches the Wales Under 18 forwards, and he is encouraged by the new crop of players.

Wales suffered a 34-17 defeat to France on Sunday, but McIntosh can draw positives from the performance.

“I don’t think France were 17 points better than us,” said McIntosh. “Our defensive systems were not as effective as they should have been, and France penetrated our defence far too often.

“In fairness, they [France] didn’t kick a lot and played some really nice stuff,” he added. “I’m sure we will learn from this.

“They’re a good bunch of lads who work very hard for each other. We have a good system in place, and I’m confident we can bounce back against Italy.”

McIntosh (right) with Wales Under 18 head coach Gruff Rees (centre)

Wales Under 18s head coach Gruff Rees told The XV in a recent interview about some of the players he has earmarked for greater things.

And having worked alongside Rees in the same set-up since he was appointed less than a year ago, McIntosh also has a few prospects in mind.

“The captain, Ellis Jenkins, is definitely a player for the future. He has a good skill set and we expect a lot from him,” said McIntosh.

“Flanker Ben Thomas got sent off against France so his temperament needs improvement, but he plays the game on the edge.

“We have a lot of talented backs as well, and the centres Thomas Pascoe and Jordan Williams look like good prospects.”

These players have all flourished at school and college level, and McIntosh is pleased with the current structure of rugby in Wales.

“I’ve watched quite a bit of the college rugby, and I’ve been pleased with the standard at colleges such as Coleg Morgannwg and Coleg Sir Gar.”

It is in McIntosh’s nature to see what is good about Welsh rugby, characteristic of a man who searches for the positives in any situation.

“I’m a realist but I am a positive person,” he said. “I’m happy with the way the Blues are moving forward and I’m convinced Wales can bounce back.”

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