By Reece Chambers
Ahead of men rugby’s opening BUCS Super League fixture against Hartpury College on Wednesday, Head of Rugby Alun-Wyn Davies says they are ready to ‘compete and challenge’ at the highest level of University rugby.
Cardiff University men’s rugby team will be taking part in their debut season of the BUCS Super League this season with the best teams from around the UK also competing – including Hartpury, Cardiff Met and Durham University.
There is no doubting that this will be a challenge for the BUCS Super League debutants, but it is a challenge that they look well equipped to face.
Last year, the men’s 1st XV comprehensively won the BUCS Southern A Division to be promoted to the Super League as well as missing out on the title the previous year by a single point.
In recent years, the University has stepped up their focus of men’s rugby with the appointment of Head of Rugby, Alun-Wyn Davies, who has spoken of his side’s upcoming season in the Super League with great excitement.
“We’re not here to just make the numbers up,” says Davies.
“We’ve spoken about what we are going to achieve rather than trying to feel our way into it.
“I dare say now that we’re at a level where we can compete and challenge.
“It’s going to be a challenge but that’s the whole point of sport isn’t it.”
Clearly, Davies is ambitious and excited about the new season ahead for the 1st team. And, whilst he is acutely aware that there will be many obstacles over the season, he believes his side can overcome those challenges.
“We’ve got a good squad that can adapt, it’s just when we adapt that will be the crucial point.
“We’re in the league now and we plan to stay in the league and compete. The guys are used to achieving what we set out and we’re absolutely not going in there to make the numbers up.
“I like being the underdog, going up against the likes of Hartpury. It’s about what we do as a group collectively and I believe we can do something special this year.
“We’ve got a culture of winning… last year we won the league comfortably and winning is a habit,” says Davies.
As well as this being a challenge for the players, the team is aware that this
is an extraordinary opportunity to get exposure in front of professional
“It’s the best development pathway in the UK, last year Super Rugby had 23
professional contracts out of it. I don’t think any English Premiership team or
Welsh team can boast that over the last five years.
“These guys are putting themselves in the shop window and people are watching
so I’m massively excited for them individually as well as I am collectively.”
Any top class team starts with the right preparation and Davies believes
Cardiff have trained well over the pre-season.
“The guys have been back in for pre-season for about six weeks which is unheard
of for Cardiff University.
“95% of the squad have been in solidly for the
last three weeks. We’re trying to increase the intensity in training to make
decisions at intensity which will have a positive outcome and the guys are
slowly getting it.
“They’ve had quite a brutal conditioning block but that’s only going to make us
stronger for this year.”
“We’re going in there to compete not make the numbers up. We’ve got a plan for the next two to three years.”