I’m back­ing Blues to give Danny the send off he de­serves

The Rugby Paper - - Feature -

WHILE the fo­cus is in­evitably on the Scar­lets, let’s not for­get Cardiff Blues.

I firmly be­lieve the good times are on the way back at the cap­i­tal re­gion and I hope the pos­i­tive feel­ing sur­round­ing the club can con­tinue against Pau in Satur­day’s Chal­lenge Cup semi-fi­nal.

For too long now the Blues have un­der­achieved; coach­ing up­heavel and board­room in­fight­ing haven’t helped, and of course there is a new man com­ing in to take charge again next sea­son.

John Mul­vi­hill will re­place Danny Wil­son, but I think there’s so much for him to work with at the Blues that it makes for a re­ally ex­cit­ing time.

If the Blues could beat Pau – which they are more than ca­pa­ble of do­ing – and reach a Euro­pean fi­nal, it could be the per­fect spring­board for some­thing re­ally spe­cial next sea­son.

I don’t know much about Mul­vi­hill as a coach or a per­son, but I’m im­pressed with the early signs.

Pen­ning Gethin Jenk­ins to a oneyear con­tract ex­ten­sion is a smart move in my view and so is bring­ing in Ja­son Strange to step in for Matt Sher­ratt as backs coach.

Both of those will pro­vide an im­por­tant Welsh link along­side Mul­vi­hill, es­pe­cially Gethin who has so much to of­fer both on and off the field given his huge amount of ex­pe­ri­ence.

In pre­vi­ous weeks I’ve been crit­i­cal of the lack of Welsh coaches in charge of the re­gions next sea­son, which is why I was so de­lighted to see the ap­point­ment of Strange to the Blues staff.

Ja­son has worked with plenty of the cur­rent Blues squad at Wales U20 level and, given the tal­ent the likes of Jar­rod Evans and Dil­lon Lewis are show­ing right now, I’m sure the only way is up.

The Blues have a good bal­ance to their squad which would be im­proved even fur­ther by a cou­ple of signings which I’m sure are in the pipe­line.

Who knows, maybe George North might yet be one of them?

All of that is for a few months down the line and the Blues’ im­me­di­ate pri­or­ity is fac­ing Pau. It will be a huge boost to see the Arms Park full for such a game and in guys like Gareth An­scombe and El­lis Jenk­ins, Danny has play­ers at the top of their game.

I re­ally hope the Blues can beat Pau for Danny's sake, too.

To take his team to a Chal­lenge Cup fi­nal – win or lose – would be a fit­ting way for him to end be­cause he’s worked mir­a­cles in the job.

Hope­fully in time we will look back at his ten­ure as the start of the Blues get­ting back to the top.

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