Cardiff Blues at the World Cup

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The Rugby World Cup is no tantalisingly close to getting underway and Cardiff Blues players and coaches from the past and the present are set to challenge at the showpiece international rugby tournament.

Over the next few weeks there will almost be a game every day as the pool stages are decided, before the qualifying teams head into the knockout stages from mid-October until the first weekend of November when the final will be contested.

Ahead of the tournament I’ve had a look at those with links to the Arms Park who are out in Japan.

Wales

There are five Cardiff Blues representatives in the 31-man squad that Warren Gatland has taken to Japan, with Dillon Lewis, Josh Navidi, Tomos Williams, Hallam Amos and Josh Adams all set to wear the red jersey.

They are joined by a number of former players, with Rhys Carre, Cory Hill, Rhys Patchell and Leigh Halfpenny all having been involved with the first team or academy at some point during their careers.

Former Cardiff Blues physiotherapist John Miles is all now part of the WRU team with the Welsh squad in Japan.

Wales start their campaign on Monday 23rd against Georgia, before taking on Australia on Sunday 29th, Fiji on Wednesday 9th and Uruguay on Sunday 13th.

Josh Navidi England 2

Samoa

Rey Lee-Lo will be an integral part of the Manu Samoa squad as the starting inside centre in their battle to get out of Pool A.

He is joined in the squad by former Cardiff Blues players Filo Paulo and Pele Cowley, as well as Tim Nanai-Williams who is the brother of our very own Nick Williams.

Samoa get underway on Tuesday 24th against Russia before playing Scotland on Monday 30th, Japan on Saturday 5th and Ireland on Saturday 12th.

USA

Former Cardiff Blues winger and undoubted legend at the Arms Park Blaine Scully will captain the USA Eagles out in Japan as part of a squad that also includes Cameron Dolan, a former number eight of ours.

Scully played 51 times in all competitions, scoring 12 tries along the way, before departing over the summer with a destination yet to be announced.

The Eagles take on England first on Thursday 26th before playing France on Wednesday 2nd, Argentina on Wednesday 9th and Tonga on Sunday 13th.

Blaine Scully Saracens

Argentina

It was a brief stint in Cardiff for Joaquin Tuculet but he became a cult hero at the Arms Park courtesy of some superb performances including scoring an 88th minute try against Connacht on one occasion.

Three tries in 13 games have been followed by four years back in South America with Jaguares, and Tuculet will now line up for Los Pumas in Japan.

They start against France on Saturday 21st before playing Tonga on Saturday 28th, England on Saturday 5th and USA on Wednesday 9th.

Fiji

Campese Ma’afu is expected to be Fiji’s first choice loosehead at the World Cup, with the 34-year-old having spent the 2012/13 season at the Arms Park.

Subsequently he has played for Nottingham, Provence and Leicester, across the English Premiership and Championship, and the ProD2 in France.

Fiji start on Saturday 21st against Australia before playing Uruguay on Wednesday 25th, Georgia on Thursday 3rd and Wales on Wednesday 9th.

Canada

Cardiff Blues Academy Manager Gruff Rees will be Canada’s attack coach at the World Cup as he works under fellow Welshmen, former Dragons head coach Kinglsey Jones.

They come into the tournament on the back of some poor warm-up results, but former Cardiff RFC player Rees will be hoping to turn that around.

The Canadians start on Thursday 26th against Italy before playing New Zealand on Wednesday 2nd, South Africa on Tuesday 8th and Namibia on Sunday 13th.

Gruff Rees Ospreys

Scotland

There are also former Cardiff Blues coaches out in Japan, with Danny Wilson one of those as he coaches Scotland’s forwards.

Wilson was in charge at the Arms Park for three seasons, culminating in winning the Challenge Cup in Bilbao, before leaving and joining Gregor Townsend’s staff.

Scotland get underway on Sunday 22nd against Six Nations rivals Ireland before facing Samoa on Monday 30th, Russia on Wednesday 9th and hosts Japan on Sunday 13th.

Namibia

Finally there are two former coaches in charge of the African side, as Phil Davies is joined by Dale McIntosh who is looking after the defence for the duration of the tournament.

Chief actually worked under Tulip at the Arms Park before taking caretaker charge when the latter was sacked, and has subsequently coached Merthyr to back-to-back Indigo Group Premiership titles.

Namibia start against Italy on Sunday 22nd, before facing South Africa on Saturday 28th, New Zealand on Sunday 6th and Canada on Sunday 13th.

Best of luck to everyone with a Cardiff Blues connection out in Japan as they compete on the biggest stage over the next few weeks. Go well!

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