The third instalment to the Cardiff Blues transfer season saga comes with an underlying tone of disappointment, as there hasn’t particularly been the number of signings we thought there might be by now. Having been promised a number of signings ‘in the next few days’ about two weeks ago, we are still waiting for an increase on the one we did get.
Comings and Goings – Part One: https://cardiffbluesblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/comings-and-goings/
Comings and Goings – Part Two: https://cardiffbluesblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/12/comings-and-goings-part-two/
It wouldn’t be so bad if that one signing wasn’t the worst kept secret in all of sport, let alone rugby. Rhys Gill was officially unveiled as a signing from Saracens, despite Sarries and every rugby press in the Northern Hemisphere confirming his return to Cardiff in about November. It doesn’t take away from the fact that Gill is a very good signing though. An international quality loosehead prop who has been an important part of a team like Saracens over the past few years. He will also boost the strength in depth of the squad through international windows, as it is extremely unlikely both Gill and Gethin Jenkins would be in the Wales squad together.
I had by now assumed we would have announced a lock. With Dominic Day from Bath being spoken to from what I’ve heard, while talks with Llanelli’s George Earle were on, then off, then on again, although concerns remain over his long-term fitness. One of Earle’s current teammate, hooker Kirby Myhill, is also linked with us as Matthew Rees looks set to move on in the summer. Finally, fly-half options are also being assessed with Steve Shingler and Rhys Priestland considered.
From comings and onto goings, which we have had two since the last instalment. Firstly, like Rhys Williams in episode one, Geraint Walsh has disappeared off the Cardiff Blues squad page on the website, and also the payroll. The Pontypridd product joined us after a Welsh Premiership Player of the Year winning performance at Sardis Road in 2013-14, making nine appearances last season, the last of which coming at Leicester in the Anglo-Welsh Cup. After not featuring at all this term, Danny Wilson clearly does not see Walsh in his long term plans, so the full-back has headed back up the A470.
Joining him on the road, but carrying on up to Merthyr, is second row Miles Normandale. After signing from Cardiff Metropolitan University RFC in 2013, he had to wait until the 2014/15 Anglo-Welsh Cup to make his debut, mainly playing for Cardiff RFC over the past few years. Normandale will be most remembered for a a late brace of tries away to Wasps last season to secure an amazing comeback victory. On the back of that he signed a deal u till the end of next season, but with no first team opportunities this year, and Wilson trimming the squad, the chance of a move to Merthyr was too good to turn down.
To finish off the third ‘comings and goings’ we have a good ‘stayings’ piece of news as Dan Fish signs a new contract. The full-back has had a quite outstanding season under Wilson, scoring seven tries in 16 appearances, to make his total 21 tries in 75 matches. The Cardiff academy graduate is still only 25, so it’s a smart move to tie him down with his best years ahead of him. Without being disrespectful to Fishy, as I am a big fan, he’s unlikely to ever make the step up to international level, so he’s a perfect player to have who is a good Pro12 level player that will be around all year.
It will be a good battle next year as Fish battles it out with Matthew Morgan for the 15 top, but with both being exciting runners one thing is for certain, we won’t be short of entertainment at the Arms Park next season. I finish with a chapter from the Bible;
“On the eighth day God created Cardiff Arms Park, and when he was done he was heard to sit back and proclaim ‘feed the Fish and he shall score.’ God was happy with his work.”