Class of 2018: Where are they now?

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With the full list of 16 departures from the Cardiff Blues this summer now out there, the mind wanders to those who left the club at the end of last season.

As such, I’ve had a look at where the four players and two coaches who departed have ended up a year on from leaving the Arms Park.

Taufa’ao Filise

The King of Tonga hung up his boots at the end of last season, making his 255th and final Cardiff Blues appearances in Bilbao as we lifted the European Challenge Cup for the second time in his 12 year spell at the club.

At 40 years-old he was still going as strong as ever but felt the time was right to move on to pastures new, and has actually left rugby behind altogether, taking on a job with Cardiff Blues sponsors Dragon Signs.

Alex Cuthbert

A cult hero at the Arms Park, The Big Horse was a favourite on the terraces for his performances, but also due to the stick he got when playing for Wales, which on the whole was completely unwarranted.

The winger bagged 46 tries in 115 games for Cardiff Blues, putting him second on the post-2003 try scorers list, as well as scoring 17 tries in 48 games for Wales, but left the goldfish bowl behind last summer.

A switch to Exeter Chiefs has seen him play 14 times in all competitions this season, one that has been heavily hampered by injury, and he will hope to have an injury free run next year.

Alex Cuthbert Connacht
Alex Cuthbert escaped the Welsh rugby goldfish bowl

Damian Welch

Big second row Welch finally made his Cardiff Blues debut in his second spell at the club, having only played for Cardiff RFC the first time round before heading to Exeter via Scarlets.

He made 22 appearances in all competitions last season, coming off the bench in the Challenge Cup Final, but at almost 36 he departed at the end of his contract.

A switch to semi-professional rugby with Cross Keys followed, where he would make 27 appearances in all competitions, but fail to keep the side in the Principality Premiership as they finished 14th and were relegated.

Anton Peikrishvili

Someone who wasn’t actually on the departed list last summer but never made a return to Cardiff Blues, the Georgian prop was effectively released to allow us to move for Dmitri Arhip.

The tighthead prop made 27 appearances in just under two years at the Arms Park, although will probably be best remembered for a red card against Ospreys in the Anglo-Welsh Cup issues for biting.

Once his departure was confirmed he joined AIA Kutaisi in the Georgian Top10 League, helping them to the quarter-finals, before signing as a medical joker at French ProD2 side Mont-de-Marsan, similarly helping them into the quarter-finals.

Anton Peikrishvili
Anton Peikrishvili is back playing in Georgia

Danny Wilson

It was initially thought the outgoing head coach Danny Wilson was heading across the Severn Bridge to take the role as forwards coach at Wasps, however a change of heart saw him actually continue North and finish in the same role with the Scottish National Team.

Working under Gregor Townsend, he has seen his side finish a disappointing fifth in the 2019 Six Nations, but will be hoping for a better outcome as they travel to the World Cup in September.

Matt Sherratt

Backs/attack coach Sherratt also departed last summer, making the shorter trip to the Ospreys where he has taken up the same role at the Liberty Stadium.

He has also had a tough time in his first season, with the Ospreys scoring the 10th most points in the league and 11th on the try scoring list, but the team as a whole have faired better and are on the cusp of qualifying for next year’s Heineken Cup.

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