The Cardiff Blues off-season injury list

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As we head into the summer months after a long but successful 2017/18 campaign, for those players not heading off on to an international camp there is a welcome chance to rest and recuperate.

For some in particular, the off-season represents an opportunity to get knocks and niggles picked up at the business end of the season right, before the whole circus starts again in September.

With that in mind, let’s have a look at the state of play in the treatment room at the Vale Resort ahead of the players jetting off and putting pictures of themselves sunning it up in Dubai on Instagram.

Kris Dacey

You may think, ‘Dacey? I’m sure he played all of the last few games of the season’. Well, you’d be right to say that, but he did so playing through the pain barrier thanks to some injections in his back.

The hooker had a bulging disc in his lower back, an injury that was also causing the knock on effect of the calf troubles that had kept him out earlier in the season, and that should have ruled out for the rest of the campaign.

However, the pain killing treatment from the medical team allowed him to stay on the field for 80 minutes in Bilbao, and help guide us to a European Challenge Cup win. He now has the summer to get his back right before he should be able to take a full part in pre-season.

Kris Dacey Ulster
Kris Dacey only just made it through the final part of the season


Matthew Rees

Experienced hooker Smiler, who appears set to be announced as having a signed a new one-year deal imminently, picked up a knee injury early in the home game against Ulster at the end of March, which brought about a premature end to a good season for the 37-year-old.

After undergoing an operation, Rees is hoping to be back as early as possible next season, with September the aim at this point for him to be battling Kris Dacey and Kirby Myhill for that number two jersey.

Matthew Rees Munster
Matthew Rees looks set to see out his career with Cardiff Blues


Gethin Jenkins

The old warhorse Melon was ruled out of the final in Bilbao with the calf injury that has been a nemesis of his for a few years now.

There was talk of a late fitness test to see whether the club captain could take to the field against Gloucester, but Gethin knows his body well enough by now and it didn’t ever seem likely he would get fit in time.

However, with a summer of rest and then a tailored pre-season campaign ahead, the 37-year-old will be ready to make his 200th appearance early next season.

Gethin Jenkins Zebre 2
Gethin Jenkins will return for another season at the Arms Park in September


George Earle

The South African smasher Earle trudged off after just nine minutes of the European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Edinburgh with his arm in a makeshift sling. A real shame after becoming a key physical component within the pack during the second half of the season.

It appears it was a broken collarbone suffered by the 31-year-old, who was still in a sling at the Pau game, but he should be back in time for pre-season and be raring to go for the first round of the Pro14.

Sion Bennett

After signing permanently at the Cardiff Blues last summer, following a successful loan period at the Arms Park, versatile back-rower Bennett has been restricted to just five Cardiff Blues appearances this season.

Outings with the Cardiff Blues Premiership Select XV and Cardiff RFC kept him match fit, until around the turn of the year when he picked up a serious shoulder injury, which must have taken place in training.

His last game of the season was for the Blue and Blacks away at Newport on the 30th December, before he underwent surgery on the injury which kept him out for the entre second half of the season. The suggestion is that he will be back fit for pre-season though.

Sion Bennett will be hoping to make more of an impact in a Cardiff Blues jersey next season


Josh Navidi

The dreads of destruction were all set to take on the world again this summer as Navidi was named in the Wales squad to tour the Americas, however a dislocated shoulder picked up in the opening minutes against Gloucester has put paid to that.

Instead, the 27-year-old has undergone surgery and will spend the summer with his feet up, and no doubt doing some one-armed DJing, with his shoulder expected to heal up in time for the new season.

Sam Warburton

British and Irish Lions captain Warburton has not featured at all for Cardiff Blues or Wales this season, with his last game of rugby still being the drawn third test against New Zealand last summer.

Having undergone neck surgery on a long-standing problem on his return from that tour, the decision was taken to give the 29-year-old a ‘full MOT’, and he has also had surgery on his knee in a bid to prolong his career after this season out.

The flanker has been taking part in the Cardiff Blues post-season strength and conditioning training block though, and will be ready to do a full pre-season at the Vale Resort for the first time in a number of years.

Ulster Sam Warburton
Sam Warburton is hoping to be fully fit for the first time in years for September


Jack Roberts

Another of last summer’s signings who has failed to make much of an impact, Roberts has been incredibly unlucky with injuries in his first season at the Arms Park.

A niggle picked up against London Scottish in pre-season meant he played for Cardiff RFC before the Blues in September, but he lasted just 14 minutes of his Pro14 debut in Munster before departing with a knee injury.

His comeback from that injury lasted just eight minutes against Newcastle in the Anglo-Welsh Cup before first calf and then shoulder problems kept him out until January.

Then, after playing in the British and Irish Cup, his second Cardiff Blues comeback was a try scoring one against old club Leicester, also in the Anglo-Welsh, but ended in disaster as he ruptured knee ligaments on his old Welford Road stomping ground.

That injury ended his season thanks to a requirement for surgery, but Roberts will be back for a third comeback in pre-season. Fingers crossed it goes smoothly.

Jack Roberts London Scottish
Jack Roberts has struggled with persistent injuries this season


Owen Lane

Breathrough star of the season Lane suffered a nasty fracture-dislocation of his hand in the first half of the Challenge Cup Final win and has had to undergo surgery, ruling him out of the race to replace Josh Adams in this summer’s Wales squad.

After a hectic first season playing senior professional rugby though, a summer with his feet up will do him good, and give him a chance to overcome the left knee problem he has been carrying.

There’s plenty of time for international caps yet!

Dan Fish

Since tearing his hamstring from the bone against Connacht in November 2016, Dan Fish has played just 58 minutes of senior professional rugby across two Anglo-Welsh Cup games.

Question marks still remain about whether the full-back’s hamstring will stand up to a full return to league and European action, but seven straight starts for Cardiff RFC between February and April are a positive sign, and he will return to pre-season ready to prove he can play a part in John Mulvihill’s plans.

Dan Fish hasn’t played a Pro14 game for nearly two years


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