Dai Young joins Wasps: How Cardiff Blues must rebuild

22 Jun

As Dai Young looks set for a move to London Wasps, the Cardiff Blues could soon be searching for a new boss. With this in mind, The XV considers five key areas the Blues must improve as they build for the future.

1. Outside-half
The Blues have struggled at 10 since Nicky Robinson left for Gloucester in 2009, and the deficiency in this position was obvious last season. Ceri Sweeney, Dan Parks, Dai Flanagan, Gareth Davies and Sam Norton-Knight have all been tried, yet not one of them has controlled the tempo of a game with the same authority or verve Robinson carried in his pomp. Both Sweeney and Parks remain under contract, but the Blues’ next chief will need to recruit an outside-half if they are to mount a serious challenge in any of next season’s competitions.

2. Front row
Gethin Jenkins may be the world’s leading prop but, when ‘Melon’ is absent, there is only scarce quality up front for the Blues. At 34 Tau Filise is nearing his twilight years, while Scott Andrews is still in the infancy of his professional career. John Yapp is a formidable prospect when fit but should the Wales international succumb to another injury as severe as his torn bicep last year, Young’s successor could struggle to field a competitive front row.

3. Try-scoring
The Blues mustered just 37 tries from their 22 Magners League matches last season, and the lack of firepower is a startling contrast to the flair and cutting edge with which the Blues played as they captured the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2009 and the Amlin Cup a year later. There is ample ability among the backs to prise open any defence, but much will depend on the outside-half and the philosophy of Young’s successor if the Blues are to be an attacking force next term.

4. Coaching staff
Young’s departure will leave a sizeable void in the Blues’ backroom, while conditioning coach and honourary Cardiffian Dan Baugh has joined the Welsh international set-up. These gaps will need filling and, with two of the region’s forwards specialists gone, the Blues’ hierarchy could turn to Pontypridd’s head coach Dale ‘The Chief’ McIntosh (below) as a man who fits the bill.

5. The next generation
Under Young’s tutelage, the Blues have seen an abundance of young talents blossom, with Sam Warburton, Bradley Davies and Leigh Halfpenny among those to prosper having progressed through the ranks. Young has been unswerving in his commitment to youth, and with Harry Robinson and Macauley Cook among the latest crop to show promise, it is imperative Young’s successor places the same emphasis on nurturing future generations.

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