12 Days of Cardiffmas: Two Royal Kings

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Now the traditional Nativity story contains Three Wise Men, sometimes referred to as the Three Kings who travelled one in a bus, one in a car, one on a scooter blowing his hooter and smoking a fat cigar.

However, in Cardiff we are not usually conventional in the way we do things. Just look at some of our coaching appointments between David Young and Danny Wilson! Therefore we don’t have Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh lying around to give to the baby Jesus.

What we do have though is the talent of two Kings in the rugby world. The greatest prop and the most legendary fly-half of a Cardiff generation. Stalwarts of the Arms Park and heroes amongst men. Their Royal Highnesses, Taufa’ao Filise and Nicky Robinson.

The King of Tonga has been in the Welsh capital for over 10 years now after playing for the Auckland Blues in Super Rugby. He has represented the country of his birth just 17 times, a scandalously small amount for the best tighthead the South Sea Island has ever seen, heading to two World Cups and playing a further five times for the Pacific Island representative side.

filise-bath
Even at 63 he’s still putting hits in on top flight Aviva Premiership players

 

As the only player to make over 200 Cardiff Blues appearances he is easily the record appearance holder and at the age of 432 he is still going strong at the Arms Park. After a number of excellent performances during March and April he signed a new contract, making me wrong for about the fourth season in a row when I predicted he would retire, but there’s no substitute for experience.

There was a tweet at the start of the new season which suggested that the tighthead would be rebuilt at St. Fagans on the day that he retired, and I can think of no more fitting tribute to the great man. For Fa’ao Filise is now more just the King of Tonga, but also the newly crowned King of Tonga-wynlais.

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His Royal Highness can still push mere peasants aside

 

On the evening of the 28th November I was innocently walking around LIDL when I looked at my phone and was knocked sideways with excitement at the news that the Messiah had returned. It wasn’t a weirdly late Easter, but the second coming of the son of the Arms Park, as His Royal Highness King Nicholas returned to his throne.

With Jarrod Evans breaking his jaw and Gareth Anscombe requiring surgery on a muscle injury there was a requirement for an experienced statesman like figure. King Nicky was available after gallivanting around Gloucester, Wasps, Bristol and Oyonnax, the 125 time capped fly-half was welcomed back to the Arms Park with celebrations similar to that when the iguana escaped the snake on Planet Earth 2.

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Nicky’s back!!!

 

Just five days later we were treated to a royal performance as the King stepped off the bench to throw flat passes that brought angels down from the heavens to sing the Hallejulahs, setting up tries for Willis Halaholo and Alex Cuthbert. Even when his kick was charged down for Ulster to score the try that ended hopes of any points, the swing of his left leg was so pure that it didn’t even matter.

Time left with these two distinguished royals is limited, unfortunately, so treasure it while you can as once they are gone their successors will not be easily found. Forevermore these monarchs will be engrained in Cardiff Rugby history. Long live the Kings!

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The King in action

 

On the second day of Christmas, Danny Wilson gave to me, two Royal Kings, and a flying Blaine Scully.

 

 

 

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