Tag Archives: Wales

Warburton believes Blues can build Barca like dynasty

26 Apr

Blues openside Warburton is excited about the local talent coming through

WALES star Sam Warburton believes the Blues can build a Barcelona-esque  dynasty of success – and he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

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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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Nigel Owens – Wales’s top official’s World Cup ambition

1 Apr
Nigel Owens hopes to head to the RWC later this year

WALES’S top referee, Nigel Owens, is focusing on hitting top form in what could be a career defining season.

The effervescent west-Walian, who was in Cardiff to referee the Welsh varsity match, finds out next week whether he is on the list of 11 elite referees selected by the IRB to officiate at this autumn’s World Cup in New Zealand.

And with a huge Heineken Cup quarter-final at the sold-out new Lansdowne Road between former champions Leicester and Leinster, as well as the possibility of taking charge of his third European final in Cardiff in May, Owens knows he needs to be at the top of his game.

“Fingers crossed I will be one of the 11 doing the world cup.

“Leinster-Leicester is a massive game with 52,000 people in the Aviva stadium. It will be as big as some of the internationals I have done,” Owens, who has refereed 26 tests, said.

“I love the Heineken Cup, people are so passionate about their region. I would say that 99 per cent of people at these games are very passionate rugby supporters and it makes for a brilliant atmosphere,” he said.

“That isn’t always the case with internationals as you have a different type of fan. There are more hospitality seats and perhaps some people who wont watch any other rugby than Six Nations in a year.”

“The Munster-Leinster semi-final at Croke Park in 2009 is one of the best games I’ve ever been involved in. I was aware it was more than a rugby game, it was an event, but it wasn’t until I watched the game back to review it that I thought ‘that was a special game, that was a privilege to be part of’,” he said.

“The first-ever rugby game at Soccer City, South Africa-New Zealand that was a hell of an atmosphere too.”

And whilst the lack of Welsh participation in the business stage of the competition means the door is open for Owens to join Chris White as the only men to have taken charge of three finals, he knows what he would prefer.

“I would happily not do the final and see a Welsh side win it,” he said. “I don’t know what is going wrong for the regions, we definitely have the players. Have they got it right on or off the field? I don’t know, but it’s very sad.”

“ I do think that everyone should be getting behind the regions though. It is great that we still have passionate rivalries like Cardiff-Ponty, and we should never lose that because that is what makes rugby special in this country but I do think some people need to grow up a bit and get behind the regions in the Magners and Heineken,” he said.

“We are only a small country and we need to pull together.”

 

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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Morgan and Robinson sparkle as Wales U20s fall short in France

20 Mar

Matthew Morgan leads the Welsh charge Photo: Huw Evans

Wales Under 20s ended their 2011 Six Nations campaign with a 29-22 defeat to France, but Matthew Morgan and Harry Robinson both gave Welsh fans reasons to be cheerful.

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Lloyd Williams on returning to the blues after injury

4 Mar

Lloyd Williams battles back from dislocated shoulder

In his first ever interview, Blues scrum-half Lloyd Williams, talks battling back from injury and career goals exclusively with TheXV.

Welsh under-20 star Lloyd Williams will return just in time to boost the Cardiff Blues Magners League title push.
 
Williams was expected to miss the rest of the season when he suffered a dislocated shoulder during the Blues LV Cup tie with Exeter in Cardiff back in November.
 
But surgeons have been so pleased with his progress he has returned to full-training in just three months rather than the anticipated five, and will be fit for selection when two-time European champions Munster head to the Cardiff City Stadium three weeks today.
 
And after a frustrating time on the sidelines and on the hand bike, Lloyd can’t wait to get back on the pitch.
 
“I am just so fed up of being in the gym now to be honest I can’t wait to get back into contact training and get playing again,” he said.
 
“ I was frustrated to get injured in the first place, but when Richie Rees got banned I was even more irritated because I could of got a good run of games to prove myself. Now it feels a little bit like back to square one.”
 
 Williams returns at a crucial time as the Blues try to resurrect what by their own admission has been a disappointing season.
 
“We set ourselves the target of winning a big title this season so now  all our eggs are in the Magners’ League basket which makes today’s game against Edinburgh massive.”
 
“ I wasn’t registered for Europe last season so I haven’t been involved in a big knockout game for Blues before. Getting to the Magners playoffs is important, they’re the games you really want to be involved in,” he said.

And as Welsh -based stars like Regan King, Lee Byrne and James Hook head for the Magners exit door Lloyd sees the competition as the perfect place to achieve his ambitions.

“The guys leaving, they’re world-class players and they deserve the chance to earn the money.

“I’m not thinking about anything like that though. I love Cardiff, I’m from the area and I have played here since I was 17. I signed on for another two years and if I’m playing well enough for them to extend that I would look too.

“Guys like Jamie Roberts, Gethin Jenkins, Richie Rees they’re the face of the Cardiff Blues and players I admire. For me 15 players who really want to play for Cardiff Blues are going to do better than 15 guys who are there for the money. Look at Stade Francais, it doesn’t always work.”

An unnerlingly humble and respectful man Williams is still ambitious.

“My first aim is to try and nail down the Blues number nine jersey. Obviously long term to play for Wales like my dad (British Lion scrum half Brynmor) would be a dream.

“Maybe after the World Cup they will be looking to experiment and if I have a run of good games who knows.

“Right now I’m just trying to learn as much as I can off Richie and keep improving and enjoying my rugby.

In an era where it’s become a sporting cliche to describe someone as level headed it is refreshing when you meeta palyer who actually is. Well spoken, with a solid philosphy on the game and an abundance of talent, Lloyd Williams has  a huge future in the game.

Podcast: Scotland v Wales preview

11 Feb

The XV join forces with The Cardiffian to look forward to Wales’ crunch Six Nation clash away to Scotland.

Listen here:

Podcast: Scotland v Wales preview by DafPritchard

Warren Gatland is a man under pressure, and he has responded by bringing James Hook in at outside-half for the dropped Stephen Jones.

Big talking points, all discussed by Daf Pritchard, Will Bain, Rich Ashton and Richard Welbirg. Production and audio courtesy of Tom Brown and Victoria Turner.