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Getting to know… Cardiff Blues

James Andrew

12 Aug 2017

Cardiff Blues are one of four Welsh sides competing in the Guinness PRO14 and finished seventh in last season’s competition.

History

The club was founded in 1876 as Cardiff RFC and then in 2003 they rebranded as Cardiff Blues.

The Blues became the first team from Wales to win a European trophy when they beat French side Toulon 28-21 in the European Challenge Cup final thanks to tries from Jamie Roberts, Leigh Halfpenny and Bradley Davies.

Captain – Gethin Jenkins

Jenkins is in his second spell at Blues having played there between 2004 and 2012 before leaving to head to France to join Toulon where he won the European Cup only to return to Cardiff a year later.

The Wales prop is the most capped player in his country’s history and was part of the British & Irish Lions tours in 2005, 2009 and 2013, while he also won three Grand Slams.

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Coach – Danny Wilson

There is not much in Welsh rugby that Danny Wilson does not know having worked at three of the four sides. Prior to joining Blues as head coach he was forwards coach at Newport Gwent Dragons and the Scarlets. He also worked at Bristol with former England and Scotland coach Andy Robinson but left to join Cardiff in 2015.

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Star man – Gareth Anscombe

The former New Zealand U20 fly-half arrived from Super Rugby in 2015. He started at ten, with current World Player of the year Beauden Barrett at full-back, when the Baby Blacks won the 2011 Junior World Championships. But he was not tied to the senior All Blacks side and when he arrived in Wales coach Warren Gatland got him involved in the international set-up. He qualified through his mother who was born in Cardiff.

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Player to watch – Dillon Lewis

The highly rated young prop was plagued by a toe injury last season but after his call-up to the national team and subsequent international debut in the summer, there is a lot of excitement over the front row player.

As a teenager, Lewis moved from No.8 to tighthead. He is strong in the scrum, but equally athletic.

Stadium

The Blues played at the famous Arms Park between 2003 and 2009 but moved to the newly built Cardiff City Stadium to share with the football club. They have since returned to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, playing on the artificial surface that was introduced in 2013.

Historic rivalries

Geography dictates that the Blues’ main rivalries are the Newport Gwent Dragons. Cardiff have generally had the better of their rivals in recent seasons, while they also play Welsh derbies against the Ospreys and the Scarlets.