Belfast Telegraph

Wilson is out to avoid more away day Blues

By Staff Reporter

As usual the results haven't been too great which, in fairness, would generally be what is expected when it comes to the serially underwhelming Cardiff Blues.

Yet, on closer inspection of their four PRO12 games, which has brought them three defeats, the only home encounter was the Blues' opening match when they obliterated Zebre by 61-13.

Those three away games have all seen the Blues lose but not in any way get turned over with all their meetings having been against Irish opposition, namely Leinster, Connacht and Munster in that order with bonus points being gleaned from the latter two.

And now tonight their rather bizarre looking fixture list brings up their fourth consecutive match with Irish opposition in a scheduled five away games on the bounce with the first date at home since the league's opening day not coming until next month.

It can't have been a pleasing early season programme for coach Danny Wilson - the fifth change in the club's coaching set-up in as many seasons - who has made it known that Wales internationals Sam Warburton, Gethin Jenkins, Liam Williams and Alex Cuthbert, along with new signings Blaine Scully and Ray Lee-Lo, from the US and Samoa respectively, should all be blended back for November's next home game with Glasgow.

In the meantime, though, Blues chairman Peter Thomas has been notably quick out of the blocks in the aftermath of the northern hemisphere's failure to have any representation in the World Cup's last four.

Thomas has argued that only a Super 15-type competition this side of the equator can give the European nations realistic hopes of winning World Cups in the future.

It's a radical notion, the idea would be to keep the PRO12 as a feeder and for Wales to produce two sides for the Super Rugby-modelled upper tier which would include four from France and England, two from Ireland and Scotland and one from Italy. Yes, but reshaping the European club game is surely worth some form of rigorous examination to benefit Test rugby.

Interesting times and certainly under Wilson's watch the Blues have already been showing a keen interest in a running game which has brought results in the shape of 18 tries from their four matches which makes them the league's leading try scorers. However, their achievement has been somewhat tarnished by the concession of 13 scores, but the Welsh capital's side are at least trying to play positive rugby.

Wilson has made four changes for tonight's visit to Belfast - where they have failed to win since 2010 - with back rower and American international Cam Dolan making his debut for the club following the World Cup.

Also in the back row, Josh Turnbull moves across to openside flanker while Josh Navidi returns to lead the side and in the backline Aled Summerhill is on the wing with Adam Thomas getting his first start at centre in this campaign.

"We have seen flashes of what we are capable of already, but this is a journey we are all in together and we have got to put the foundations in place now to build for the future," Wilson said ahead of tonight.

Sounds like it might yet be a lengthy journey.

Belfast Telegraph

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