Matthew Walsh, Blues Columnist.
Week by week, the Blues injury list grows (It’s almost as long as the Christmas tree in Cardiff is high). The forwards seem to have fared better than the backs with only Josh Navidi, Lou Reed and Matthew Rees out. The backline is missing both Rhys Patchell and Gavin Evans out, leaving Simon Humberstone to fill in the No.10 slot. Centre Cory Allen dislocated his shoulder on his impressive debut against the Pumas, Owen Williams was called up to Wales to play despite rumours that he’s carrying a knock and Alex Cuthbert is expected to return in the coming weeks after his injury in the victory over Toulon.
After chief executive Richard Holland and chairman Peter Thomas’ trip to New Zealand, it is rumoured that the Blues have made secured five new players; three backs, a second row and a back row. This news comes in light of reports that Bradley Davies is leaving to France, following in the footsteps of his fellow Welsh compatriots, with details to be announced at the end of this year.
Furthermore, remember when Sam Warburton proclaimed his future was in Wales? Well this statement may prove to be a tall tale as Derwyn Jones, Warburton’s agent, has told the Blues that if they don’t strike up a deal on his new contract soon, Warburton will have no other choice but to leave. Meanwhile Leigh Halfpenny still hasn’t said a peep in spite of the media’s stories of his links to France.
Baber has reassured the fans that he believes the two Welsh men will stay true to their region and country. He has also indicated that the future for the regions could be one without big name players. He highlighted the development of the academy players. Allen, Williams and Halfpenny himself, all Academy products) stating that they are where our priorities should lie if we are to look for our next star players.
Regardless of Baber’s statement, the WRU needs to figure out a way to end this conveyor belt of welsh players to France. If you look at the team that played against Argentina, almost a third of players play club rugby outside of Wales. It is unlikely the Blues will follow this path, however, whenever we develop an outstanding player, they always seem choose to go where the money is.