So it’s a New Year, and indeed a new decade, as Cardiff Blues and Cardiff RFC press on towards a 150th anniversary in 2026 with plenty of rugby to be played either side of that.
In the short term though there is plenty to hope for both on and off the field as each side has a lot to play for, while Cardiff Blues Limited has the small matter of securing our future at the Arms Park to sort out.
Starting with Cardiff Blues and every game between now and the end of the season is an important one as John Mulvihill’s men look to make up for a slow start to the campaign and push for a first ever appearance in the Guinness Pro14 play-offs.
With the Final being played in the Cardiff City Stadium this year the motivation should not be any greater, and after a positive festive period there is a base to build from when it comes to staying in contention with the top three in Conference B.
Beyond that there is an important recruitment and retention period for John Mulvihill and the management team to think about, with a distinct feeling that the Cardiff Blues squad is only four or five players away from being a properly competitive outfit.
The word is that the playing budget will go up slightly for next season, but will still be on the smaller side compared to a majority of other teams in Europe, therefore ensuring every penny is spent wisely will be key to building the squad up properly for 2020/21.
Cardiff RFC, on the other hand, have the task of maintaining their good form with more potential silverware on the horizon after winning the Specsavers Cup last season.
14 points clear at the top of the Indigo Group Premiership at the turn of the year and into the quarter-finals of the Cup sees the chance for a double still on, as Steve Law’s squad continue to make a name for themselves as the best club side in the Welsh domestic game at the moment.
The challenge in a longer term for the Blue and Blacks this season is keeping the nucleus of the squad together as there are no doubt that some will be offered deals across the border by English Championship clubs, while guaranteed starting spots will be on offer elsewhere in the Premiership.
There is a clearly strong culture within the squad and retaining the personnel to keep that alive will be key to ensure Cardiff can maintain this success season-to-season rather than being a flash-in-the-pan.
Of course what both sides want is to continue playing at the Arms Park though, and that’s where the board of Cardiff Blues Ltd come in as they come into 2020 on the back of an under-par year it’s fair to say.
Communication has tentatively improved, and the publishing of ‘The Cardiff Blues Way’ documents and the organising of a Supporter Q&A are steps forward, but talk is cheap and action is what we want to see.
One big action would be finally sorting out a long-term lease for the Arms Park with Cardiff Athletic Club, ending the uncertainty that surrounds the end of the current lease and pressing on with the refurbishment/redevelopment of the famous ground that has so much potential but is currently looking very unloved.
2020 has the potential to be a very exciting year for Cardiff Rugby, but it could finish up as one to forget without some smart decisions off it. Here’s hoping it’s the former.