Cardiff Rugby go back to the future to begin post-Blues new era

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Sport Wales
Dai Young
Dai Young returned to Cardiff in January after nine years in charge of Wasps

Cardiff Rugby have gone back to the future to begin their new era.

After 18 years as Cardiff Blues since Welsh rugby went regional, they announced in March they would drop the word Blues for the 2021-22 season.

There is an updated logo and the side will return to the traditional club colours of blue and black, as worn when Cardiff RFC were formed in 1876.

The semi-professional side, who play in the Welsh Premiership, remain as Cardiff RFC, nicknamed 'The Rags'.

Now the name Cardiff will be used more prominently for the city's professional team, who will play in the new United Rugby Championship alongside sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and South Africa this season.

"I was very proud to put the Cardiff jersey on as a player and I think we're all totally aware of the history," said Dai Young, Cardiff Rugby's director of rugby and a former Cardiff, Wales and British and Irish Lions prop.

"People above my pay grade have looked into it and canvassed supporters and sponsors, so it's not a decision that's been taken lightly.

"It's a decision that supporters, sponsors and the like thought was the best way to move forward. They know better than me what people want.

"Those decisions were made commercially, which is huge. If things don't work commercially, you can forget about everything else, so we get that."

The new Cardiff Rugby logos
The new Cardiff Rugby logos

The Cardiff Blues name was the last remaining from the inception of regional rugby in 2003.

Newport-Gwent Dragons, Llanelli Scarlets, Neath-Swansea Ospreys, Celtic Warriors and Cardiff Blues were created as Welsh rugby's top tier was reduced from nine club teams to five new regional sides.

A year later the Warriors, a combination of Bridgend and Pontypridd, folded. Ospreys dropped Neath-Swansea from their title in 2005 and Scarlets did likewise when Llanelli was removed in 2008, before Newport-Gwent also disappeared nine years later.

Now Cardiff have become the first side to drop the nickname, rather than losing the name of the city or town.

When they were renamed Cardiff Blues - often shortened to Blues - one of the aims was to represent a wider geographical region beyond Wales' capital city.

But Young, who was born in Aberdare and raised in Penywaun in the Cynon Valley, believes Cardiff Rugby will continue to represent its surrounding areas as it did before the advent of regional rugby.

Cardiff fly-half Jarrod Evans and scrum-half Tomos Williams are among the Wales internationals born in the south Wales valleys and nearby towns such as Pontypridd who have graduated from the Cardiff academy.

"Although the name has changed and we embrace our history, it doesn't change our responsibilities within the regional pathways," Young added.

"If you look at our squad, a big percentage come from the valleys and we're proud of that and it's something we don't see changing.

"From my point of view, it doesn't change my job. Our focus is exactly the same."

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