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RaboDirect Pro12: Five Young Players to Watch

31 Aug

The World Cup in New Zealand may be grabbing the headlines, but there will be plenty of rugby to watch on these shores over the coming months. So with the RaboDirect Pro 12 (formerly the Magners League) kicking off on Friday, The XV has decided to cast its eyes over five young players hoping to make an impression when the regions’ international players are away.

1. Macauley Cook (Lock, Blues)

Macauley Cook. Photo: Huw Evans

Will become Cardiff RFC’s youngest ever captain this season at just 19 years old. The imposing lock is used to the extra responsibility, however, as he skippered Wales Under-20s during this year’s Six Nations. A forceful runner and tackler with an excellent work rate and obvious leadership qualities, a real prospect.

2. Hanno Dirksen (Winger, Ospreys)

Qualifies for South Africa and the USA, but will be eligible to play for Wales in 12 months. Caught the eye with two well-taken tries in the recent friendly win against Russia, and his desire to play for Wales could soon see him in Warren Gatland’s plans. Powerful, pacey and a natural finisher, should get plenty of game time at the Ospreys this season.

3. Rhodri Williams (Scrum-half, Scarlets)

Rhodri Williams. Photo: Huw Evans

The latest off the Llanelli conveyor belt of scrum-halves, Williams is building himself a fine reputation with both his club Llandovery and his region. Quick, sharp and a crisp passer of the ball, Williams has represented Wales Under-18s and could find more opportunities to impress at Parc y Scarlets this season with Tavis Knoyle at the World Cup and Martin Roberts leaving for Northampton.

4. Harry Robinson (Winger, Blues)

Harry Robinson. Photo: Huw Evans

Still just 18, this explosive winger has caused a stir in his young career to date. Whether it has been in a starting role for the Wales Under-20s or from the bench with the Blues, the diminutive figure has left many players in his wake with his jinking, elusive running style. Should relish his chance to shine with Leigh Halfpenny at the World Cup.

5. Ashley Beck (Centre, Ospreys)

The Ospreys' Ashley Beck takes on Aironi. Photo: Huw Evans

His smooth handling skills complement the more rugged likes of Andrew Bishop in the Ospreys’ midfield, and such deftness could soon feature on an international stage. Has a keen an eye for the try line, and a peripheral vision which brings others into the game. At 21 years old, the rangy centre appears to be realising some of his considerable potential.

The XV: Rhys Patchell

13 Jul

Position: Fly-half / Full-back

School: Ysgol Glantaf

As comfortable at full-back as he is at his preferred position of fly-half, Rhys Patchell is a bright prospect with the skill and nous to control games.

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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.

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Wales warned not to expect ‘too much too soon’ of Matthew Morgan

13 Apr

Morgan in action for Wales U20s

Ospreys skills coach Gruff Rees has warned against expecting “too much too soon” from Swansea starlet Matthew Morgan, as the young fly-half continues to impress.

Morgan has been in glittering form for the Ospreys and Swansea RFC this season, while he also starred for the Wales Under 20s during the Six Nations.

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Young sets Blues Magners ultimatum

29 Mar

Dai Young has demanded the Blues are perfect from now on, if they're to make the play-offs

Cardiff Blues coach Dai Young has laid down the gauntlet to his players for the season finale, by challenging them to win all five of their remaining matches.

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Cardiff Blues 15 – 16 Munster

25 Mar

Munster withstood a spirited Cardiff Blues display to hold on for a precious 16-15 win and dent the Welsh region’s hopes of securing a Magners League play-off spot.
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Cardiff Blues Dafydd Hewitt will keep battling for club and country

23 Mar

Dafydd Hewitt

Wales may reflect on this year’s Six Nations with regrets, but Cardiff Blues centre Dafydd Hewitt is only looking forward when it comes to his own international hopes.

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