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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 August, 2003, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Season preview: Cardiff Blues
By Sean Davies

Cardiff have to convince the rugby world that their summer signings can solve the problems that plagued the club throughout last season.

BLUES PREDICTIONS
Dan Baugh has pledged himself to Cardiff throughout the World Cup
Celtic League: 7th
Celtic Cup: Quarter-final exit
Heineken Cup: 1st round exit
Nobody doubts the potential of their talented, exciting back-line - although their resources in that department will be severely strained by Wales' World Cup calls.

Their problems last year were all in the forwards, and specifically the front five.

An inexperienced tight five were bullied by the major teams, the nadir being reached with a humiliating 75-25 Heineken Cup loss in Biarritz.

Coach Dai Young has moved to address the weaknesses by recruiting Welsh internationals Craig Quinnell, Andy Moore and Ben Evans.

Jon Vaughton
One to watch: Jon Vaughton
They certainly have the experience and strength of competing at the highest level, but they will need to back it up with the right attitude, a hunger to push themselves to the hilt.

Another summer signing, hooker Gareth Williams, should add definite dynamism to the front row, while the back row - with Dan Baugh pledging himself to Cardiff throughout the World Cup - looks an aggressive unit, capable of putting the Blues on the front foot.

Still, the Blues have it all to prove this season and a testing time in Celtic League and Cup lies ahead.

The Heineken Cup draw has dealt them a cruel hand, and Cardiff will struggle to win a game in a group containing Leinster, Sale and Biarritz.


Full-backs: Rhys Williams, Donavan van Vuuren
Three-quarters: Nick Walne, Dean Dewdney, Craig Morgan, Pieter Muller, Jamie Robinson, Tom Shanklin (from Saracens), Matt Allen, Jon Vaughton (development contract)
Fly-halves: Iestyn Harris, Nicky Robinson, Nick Macleod, Gareth McCarthy
Scrum-halves: Ryan Powell, Richard Smith, Andy Moore
Props: Ben Evans, John Yapp (development contract), Ken Fourie, Darren Crompton
Hookers: Andrew Lewis, Gareth Williams, T Rhys Thomas
Locks: Heino Senekal, Craig Quinnell, Andy Moore, James Goode
Back rows: Martyn Williams, Dan Baugh, Jim Brownrigg, Robin Sowden-Taylor, Dan McShane, Nathan Thomas (from Bath), James Malpas

Transfer stories
Captain: Martyn Williams
Coach: Dai Young
Assistant coach: Geraint John
Team colours: White, blue and black
Chief Executive: Robert Norster
Squad manager: Derwyn Jones
Conditioning coach: Huw Wiltshire
Skills coach: Mark Ring (tbc)
Physiotherapist: Jane James
Notational analyst: Rhodri Manning
Academy co-ordinator: Mike Rayer
Premier League team coaches: Mike Rayer, Howard Stone
Premier League conditioning coach: Tristan Bevan
Ground: Arms Park




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SEE ALSO
Heineken Cup 2003/4
26 Nov 02  |  European Club
Welsh rugby's new dawn
31 Aug 03  |  Welsh



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