It’s the blog that, if I’m being honest, I thought I might have to write this summer, but that I was pushing way deep down because I don’t want to believe it’s true.
Blaine Scully has been everything you want a Cardiff Blues player to be over the last four years. A bit of an underdog who has fought their way into the first team on the back of hard work and a dream try against our rivals, a top bloke off the field prepared to mix and chat with supporters, and a Cup Final hero.
When he was signed I’m sure I wasn’t the only one not really fussed by his arrival. A decent time at Leicester Tigers was followed by a first season at the Arms Park that didn’t really pull up many trees, but that all changed in October 2016.
A key member of our strong start to the 16/17 season, he was gaining a reputation as a solid winger before in front of our eyes he literally took off, flying towards the corner and capping that stunning try by getting up and high-fiving a supporter.
The nickname ‘Captain America’ was solidified, chants of ‘USA, USA’ rang around the Arms Park, and Blaine Scully became an instant cult hero. Another in the long list of overseas players to make their mark as a favourite of the Cardiff Blues faithful.
His influence on the field would be strong throughout that season and into the next, a mic’d up game against Dragons giving a flavour of his leadership qualities, culminating with a superb sliding effort in the corner against Gloucester in Bilbao to put us within a Gareth Anscombe kick of lifting the trophy.
It was off the field that he really cemented himself as a fan favourite though, with regular visits to the Jack Matthews Bar after a game, and his work as a player representative with Cardiff Blues Supporters Club.
Outside of the club, he was impressive with his work setting up the United States Rugby Players Association, and sat onto the International Rugby Players Council, representing Cardiff Blues with distinction on the world stage.
In an ideal scenario Scully would have stayed at the club beyond this summer, for his presence around the Welsh capital as much as his playing ability, but with the emergence of Owen Lane and Aled Summerhill as first choice wingers, as well as the signing of Hallam Amos and Josh Adams, the writing was sadly on the wall.
Where he lands after the World Cup remains to be seen, although Major League Rugby on the other side of the Atlantic continues to grow at an impressive rate of knots and the signing of the USA Eagles captain would no doubt be a coup for the competition.
His words while announcing his departure and his social media conduct in the aftermath speak volumes about the sort of man he is. Someone you’re proud to see pulling on the jersey and representing the club on a world stage.
More than a cult hero, he has become a Cardiff Blues legend in a short space of time and his spot in the history books at the Arms Park is assured forever.
He goes with our best wishes for this summer with the American national team, and beyond that in whatever comes next, both on and off-the-field. (#Blaine2024?)
Ah who am I kidding? Don’t go Blaine!