Cardiff RFC confirmed the 21 semi-professional players who will form the core of the playing squad for the 2021/22 season this week, meaning we now know who has left from the side that should have won the Indigo Group Premiership before the coronavirus pandemic,
From that squad of 28 only 10 remain in Steve Law’s playing group for the upcoming campaign, so I’ve had a look through the list of nine departures from that successful side that we didn’t know about joining the nine previously announced..
Starting up front and loosehead prop Fraser Young departs after three years at the club. A regularly starter after switching from Newport in the summer of 2017 he made 23 appearances in his debut season and went on to feature for Cardiff A in the Celtic Cup during 2018/19, but injury and the form of Thomas Davies, Ian Jenkins and Brynley Toms would restrict him to just 12 more games for the club.
At hooker Hugo Souto has returned to Rumney after a season with the Rags. A former Cardiff Schoolboy and Age Grade player, as well as Cardiff & Vale College 1st XV squad member, he impressed for the Rockets in 2018/19 and signed for the Rags at the end of that season but was restricted to just four substitute appearances in all competitions.
On the tighthead Peter Lloyd departs after three successful years as the cornerstone of the Cardiff pack. Joining from Glamorgan Wanderers in the summer of 2017 he would go on to make 63 appearances in all competitions, including coming off the bench in the WRU National Cup Final in 2018.
Into the engine room and both second rows from that 2019/20 campaign have departed with Kieran Martin already confirmed as heading for Bridgend, while Callum Bradbury who ends a seven-year association with the club having played for Cardiff U16s and U18s before joining the Academy, playing for the Premiership Select XV in the British & Irish Cup and making two first team appearances in the Anglo-Welsh Cup. Joining the Rags after his release from the Academy he made 36 outings in three years across all competitions.
There are a number of departures from the back row joining Zach O’Driscoll who has also signed for Bridgend, with Sam Pailor leaving after 45 appearances in two season where he slotted in at number eight, blindside flanker and second row, where he started the 2018 Cup Final.
James Thomas also filled in at second row from the back row during his only season at the club having hung his professional boots up following close to a decade with the Dragons. Two tries in 14 appearances across all competitions was a vital contribution to what should have been a victorious year.
Former Scarlets Academy man Lloyd Pike made six appearances in the league and cup, all off the bench, as he featured for the Blue and Blacks while completing his studies at Cardiff University, but appears to have returned to his Carmarthenshire roots with a switch to Llandovery.
Finally, Luke Crocker made a brief return to the Cardiff RFC jersey starting two games prior to the pandemic hitting to add to his 54 appearances made before moving to Australia to play for Sydney-based Manly Marlins.
Into the backs and a number of players have already had their exits confirmed with Gareth Thompson and Teri Gee heading for Merthyr, Joe Gatt and Edd Howley moving to Bridgend, Jack Brooks and Mathew Powell switching to Newport, and Joe Scrivens returning to Penallta.
They are joined in departing by a Cardiff RFC stalwart as Leon Andrews brings a second spell at the club to a close with two tries from 12 games, adding to 21 tries in 92 games between 2003 and 2007, plus six first team appearances between 2002 and 2004. All-in-all it’s 110 appearances for the club which ultimately should have finished with a Premiership winners medal.
Best of luck to all the departing players on their futures and thank you for your service to Cardiff Rugby.