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Law hoping to turn ‘Rags’ into riches

Law hoping to turn ‘Rags’ into riches

Jack Maynard is one of the new recruits at Cardiff

Cardiff RFC head coach Steve Law has named 21 semi-pro players to form the nucleus of the new-style ‘Rags’ team this season.

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Law’s side were chasing a first league and cup double before lockdown struck and ended the 2019/20 season. Now he wants his squad to aim for a different piece of silverware when the Welsh Premiership sides return to action next month in the Indigo Group Premiership Cup.

Cardiff kick-off against north Walians, RGC 1404, on 18 September and will blend their 21 senior players with the academy players from Cardiff Rugby.

“It was a terrible shame for the club they didn’t have the chance to go for the double given their lack of success over so many years. We were into the semi-finals of pout defence of the cup and were well clear at the top of the league,” said Law.

“We aren’t going to set specific targets for the players, but we have been setting standards. We want to win every game, and we’ll pick a team each week with that in mind, but it won’t necessarily be our strongest side.”

There have been a lot of changes at the club since rugby was kicked into touch over 500 days ago. Cardiff Blues, who own the Cardiff RFC A licence, have changed their name to Cardiff Rugby and the team that plays for the Premiership side will be an amalgamation of academy and semi-pro players.

“We are all on the same page finally, which wasn’t the case earlier in the year. Academy manager Gruff Rees is now the director of rugby for Cardiff RFC, I’m the head coach and Dan Fish, Craig Everett and Aled James are also in the coaching team,” said Law.

“This model is new and is aimed at creating better playing foundations for the club as a whole. I’ve been able to keep 21 semi-pro players in the system and they will help to nurture the youngsters from the academy,” said Law.

“We’ll also be able to help some of the full time professionals within the regional squad with game time when they need it. The agreed plan moving forward is for the Cardiff RFC squad to train on Tuesday and Thursday nights as part of a complete outfit whenever possible so we can prepare in the best way for the weekend.

“That will give Gruff and his pathway development team the chance to assess everyone in training as well as under match conditions. We want to be competitive and successful, as well as developmental.

“I’m really enthusiastic about what I’ve seen so far from the academy players and it looks as though we are going to have an exciting season. We won’t be a development side, but we will provide opportunities for players to develop their talent and to prove themselves in the senior game.”

Back in Blue & Black this season will be the last skipper, Morgan Allen, back row colleague Alex Everett and front row men Bryn Toms, Ollie Drake, Thomas Davies and Evans Yardley. Tom Habberfield is returning at scrum half.

Jack Maynard has joined from Llandovery, along with hooker Alun Rees and tight head Llyr Green. Former Wales U20 lock Rory Bartle returns to Welsh rugby after playing at Gloucester, London Scottish and Jersey.

Former Wales Sevens star Dafydd Smith will link up with ex-Dragons and Wales U20 centre Tom Hoppe in the back division, where George Gasson is another new recruit.

Cardiff RFC Semi-Pro Players

Back Three: George Gasson, James Beal, Ryan Edwards
Centres: Barnie Nightingale, Tom Hoppe, Dafydd Smith
Half Backs: Tom Habberfield, Jack Maynard
Front Row: Brynley Toms, Ollie Drake, Thomas Davies, Llyr Green, Evan Yardley, Alun Rees
Second Row: Sean Moore, Gareth Allen, Rory Bartle
Back Row: James Richards, Alex Everett, Nathan Hudd, Morgan Allen

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