Cardiff Blues v Ospreys set for record crowd

With over 16,000 tickets already sold for the Blues v Ospreys derby match on New Year’s Eve it looks set be a record rugby crowd at the Cardiff City Stadium.
There’s sure to a brilliant atmosphere for the game which kicks off at 2.05pm as the Blues take on an inform Ospreys side.
Speaking ahead of the match, Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby, David Young said,
“On paper the Ospreys are arguably one of the strongest sides in Europe packed full of current internationals.”
“They showed in their recent Heineken Cup win over Munster and in recent win over Scarlets they have an extremely strong pack and scrum that can dominate teams.”
“They also have some world class players in the backs, so it is hard to find a weakness in their side.”
“They are the reigning Magners League champions so I’m sure they won’t want to give up the title lightly.”
“One thing that our results in the Heineken Cup have done is make us even more determined as a group to do something in the Magners League.”
“There is still a lot of rugby to be played before the end of the season and traditionally we have always been a side that has played better after Christmas. Despite not playing to our full potential we are in a lot stronger position than where we were last season.”
“We are in the top five, whereas last year we were at the wrong end of the table.”

Tickets for the match are still available by calling the ticket office on 0845 345 1400 but due to the adverse weather conditions and the Royal Mail backlog, the Cardiff City Stadium Ticket Office has stopped sending out tickets for the match.
Supporters are advised to please collect their tickets from the ticket office before the day of the match but if you are coming down on the day to collect please allow plenty of time to gain entry.
Family tickets for the match are available for two adults and two children for only £20 in the Family Stand.
Prior to kick off at the match, the winners of the hugely popular Xmas Factor competition will be performing on the pitch. The competition hosted by Queen's Arcade Cardiff has been running in conjunction Red Dragon FM with the winners, Pic n Mix dance group, chosen from a celebrity judging panel winning the chance to perform.
Furthermore Cardiff Blues and Magners League will be staging a Crossbar Challenge competition at half time during the game. Two lucky entrants will have the chance to win £10,000 in the challenge after purchasing Magners Irish Cider in their local pub and receiving the winning scratch cards over the Christmas period.

Cardiff Blues Top 3 Attendances at Cardiff City Stadium

Sat 24 Oct 2009 Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16,341
Fri 21 Aug Cardiff Blues v Leicester Tigers 15,843
Sun 27 Dec 2009 Cardiff Blues v Newport Gwent Dragons 15,210

Cardiff Blues name team for Dragons clash - 27th December 2010 - KO 3:20pm


The Cardiff Blues team to face the Newport Gwent Dragons in the first of the festive Welsh derbies has been selected.  Cardiff Blues welcome back hooker T Rhys Thomas from shoulder injury, with the former Newport player starting in the front row, accompanied by John Yapp and Gethin Jenkins who captains the side.

Michael Paterson starts in the second row accompanying Bradley Davies while there is a totally new backrow. Tom Brown comes in at Number 8, for the suspended Xavier Rush, Sam Warburton starts at openside and Andries Pretorius at blindside.

Tom Slater will make his third Magners League start for the Blues at scrum half and is partnered by Dan Parks. Jamie Roberts makes his first start of the season, having come on at half time against Northampton Saints last weekend, and partners Casey Laulala in the centre. The back three remain unchanged.  On the bench the Blues welcome back Deiniol Jones who has returned from a fractured eye socket.

The Blues travel to Rodney Parade knowing that theDragons have won three of their last four games in the Magners League and have won three in a row at Rodney Parade in all competitions. However, they Blues have a good record having won the last eight encounters between the two sides.

Starting XV
15 Chris Czekaj 14 Richard Mustoe 13 Casey Laulala 12 Jamie Roberts 11 Tom James 10 Dan Parks 9 Tom Slater
8 Tom Brown 7 Sam Warburton 6 Andries Pretorius 5 Michael Paterson 4 Bradley Davies 3 John Yapp 2 T Rhys Thomas 1 Gethin Jenkins (c)
16 Rhys Williams 17 Taufa’ao Filise 18 Sam Hobbs 19 Deiniol Jones 20 Maama Molitika 21 Richie Rees 22 Ceri Sweeney 23 Dafydd Hewitt

Coming up on the Radio Cardiff Sports Show - 28th December 2010 and 4th January 2011

We are taking a short break from our regular live Tuesday night show over Christmas and New Year, but don't depair!!!

A special show featuring some our favourite interviews from 2010 will be braodcast at 7pm on 28th December 2010 and 4th January 2011. The show features boxer, Nathan Cleverley, sprint cyclist, Becky James, 400m hurdler, Dai Greene, adventurer Mark Beaumont and highlights from the Ryder Cup. This show is also available to download from the iTunes Store - best of all it's FREE!

We will return LIVE on 11th January 2011 with our usual sporting chat and our very important Fantasy League Top 10 Countdown.

Wales push for promotion as water polo championships splash down in Cardiff.

Water polo teams from around the British Isles head to Cardiff next month, as Wales hosts its first major event for the sport.

The ASA Inter-Regional Boys Youth Championship will be held at the Cardiff International Pool on January 15 and 16, with Wales looking to clinch promotion to the top division.

The hosts face Ireland and the South East in the group matches on Saturday, with the prospect of meeting the South West, East Midlands, East or North West in Sunday’s knock-out stages.

The competition, for boys born in 1994, will be the most prestigious water polo event held in Wales.

“It is a coup for us to be able to host an event such as this,” said Csaba Rull, water polo consultant with Swim Wales, and a coach with the GB national team.

“We have a strong squad with five GB players, and we have a good chance of promotion, as we are seeded second behind the South West- but we have to win to be promoted.

“We are keen to get plenty of support for our boys,” he added. “Water polo is a very fast and exciting sport – very physical and aggressive. It’s often likened to ice hockey, and any sports fan will find it exciting to watch.”

The 13-player Wales squad has yet to be finalised, but provisionally includes mainly players from the Carmarthen and Cardiff clubs:

  1. Kyle Mc Allister         Carmarthen Water Polo Club
  2. Aiden Thomas           Cardiff Water Polo Club
  1. Lewis Jones              Carmarthen Water Polo Club
  2. Chris James              Carmarthen Water Polo Club
  3. Steffan Williams        Carmarthen Water Polo Club
  4. Gethin Rees              Carmarthen Water Polo Club
  5. Rhys Meredith           Carmarthen Water Polo Club
  6. Stephen Ingrams        Cardiff Water Polo Club
  7. Ryan Jones               Cardiff Water Polo Club
  8. Sam Grey                 Cardiff Water Polo Club
  9. Dan Brown                Frome Water Polo Club
  10. Jack Arthur               Cheltenham Water Polo Club
  11. Sam Hooton              Cardiff Water Polo Club
  12. Lewis Davies            Carmarthen Water Polo Club
  13. Elliott Dunne             Carmarthen Water Polo Club
  14. Oliver Ford               Swansea Sharks Swimming Club
Matches will be played in four periods of eight minutes, between 1.30pm and 7.30pm on Saturday 15 and 9.30am to 4.45pm on Sunday.

Information about the event and about water polo in Wales is available from Csaba Rull at Swim Wales on 01792 513623 or or from the website at

Coming up on the Radio Cardiff Sports Show - 14th December 2010

- We begin by discussing Amir Khan’s thrilling points victory over Marcos Maidana which saw him retain his WBA light-welterweight title. Matthew Eves will be casting his expert eye over that bout and discussing Nathan Cleverley and James DeGale as well.

- Yousef Haider will review UFC 124 which took place on Saturday night.

- In football Cardiff City’s poor run of form continued this last weekend with defeat to Middlesborough. In the Premier League the pre-transfer window merry-go-round is in full-swing as we discuss Sam Allardyce’s sacking from Blackburn and Gary Speed’s imminent appointment as Wales manager. Liverpool slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Newcastle who were managed for the first time by Alan Pardew. Is the writing now on the wall for Roy Hodgson?  Carlo Ancellotti also claims that the worst is over at Chelsea; but after a 1-1 draw against Spurs is he right?

- In addition Simon Williams will bring us his regular ice hockey update and a review of the UK snooker championship. We also look ahead to the 3rd Ashes Test which starts this week as England look to capitalise on their good form and retain the Ashes down under for the first time since 1987.

The show is pre-recorded this week so will be available to download from the iTunes Store from Monday night. Please help us spread the word about the podcast by telling your friends and colleagues. Many thanks.

The South Wales Scorpions celebrate their first birthday TODAY!

It was on December 11th 2009 that the Rugby Football League gave the green light to the new “South Wales RLFC” to enter the Co-operative Championship 1 competition while the name “Scorpions” came 11 days later following an online campaign. All of this was reported in newspapers, on local radio and on television in Wales.

The idea for a second professional Rugby League side in Wales came as far back as July 2005 when co-founder of the Crusaders, Chris O’Callaghan, said in that month’s Rugby League World magazine that: “The Crusaders will work alongside the Conference as we climb our way towards Super League acceptance. Should all go according to plan, we intend to leave behind another NL2 (the original name for Championship 1) club in our wake.”

And throughout 2009 there were talks to form that club with ideas to place it in places like Newport, Neath or even just over the Welsh border in Bristol.

But it was the Neath application that impressed the Rugby Football League bosses and more importantly had the rubber stamp from autonomous governing body, Wales Rugby League.

The Scorpions had an outstanding first season finishing sixth in the league, reaching the play-offs and no less than 14 of their regular players went on to represent Wales at full international level in October this year – a campaign that led to Wales winning the European Cup and qualifying for the 2011 Four Nations tournament to take on England, Australia and New Zealand.

They scored 102 tries and totalled 602 points in just 21 games, scored 70 points in two of their matches and their coach Anthony Seibold was named as the Co-operative Championship 1 coach of the year.

Plus their attendances were third best in Co-operative Championship 1, below only Oldham and York City Knights and well above Champions Hunslet Hawks.

They had one player in the official Co-operative Championship 1 Team of the Year in Gil Dudson while their top try scorer Steve Parry with 19 tries, was third in the League’s scoring charts.

The Scorpions have made many critics of the club eat their words for what they have achieved in 2010.

One fan, obviously disappointed at the Crusaders’ moving their base to Wrexham, sent an email to the club predicting that they would “fall at the first fence” and “fail miserably.”

In a local paper, Glamorgan Gazette, dated January 28th 2010, former Wales and Crusaders assistant coach Kevin Ellis said about both the Scorpions and Crusaders that “I think they’ll both finish in the bottom three of their leagues” while the Rugby League World Magazine dated April 2010 concurred with that and predicted that the Scorpions would finish ninth.

In the previous edition of that magazine, new Barrow Raiders coach Garry Schofield even went as far as predicting that the club would go out of existence after a year.

“Another club called South Wales failed in 1996 after just one season,” he wrote. “I can’t see what will be different with this team.”

But this was the pundit who in the same issue said that Crusaders’ “new signings don’t inspire much confidence” and that they would finish bottom of Super League!

For the record, the differences between the South Wales side from 1996 and South Wales Scorpions are enormous.

In 1996, the old South Wales club, despite having a similar season to the Scorpions on the field, had no infrastructure off it.

At that time, there was no junior development, no real fanbase or even an identity for the club as it had no nickname, mascot or even a regular home ground. There were no schools playing Rugby League in South Wales and just one student side.

In 2010, from the outset, the Scorpions have done everything in the correct fashion and they have been welcomed by all at their home ground, The Gnoll in Neath.

Last year, the club fielded 24 Welsh-born players and further four who were Welsh qualified, and by linking up with the Wales Rugby League and Crusaders youth set-up, they have ensured the future of the club on the field. So much so that the Crusaders under 18 shirts also proudly parades the Scorpions logo on them in 2010.

A major breakthrough from the link-up will be seen in 2011 when Dafydd Carter and Chris Davies will take to the field for the Scorpions after graduating from the under 18 academies in South Wales. These teenagers are just two of around 1,500 people to have played Rugby League for a Welsh side in 2010 and with more teams in the Champions Schools competition in South Wales in 2010-11 (if the weather allows it to!) then this number is set to increase as the years go on.

The Scorpions are utilising their website, Facebook and Twitter to involve their fanbase every step of the way in regards to choosing a name, badge and even the 2011 team shirts that were launched earlier this week, which is just another reason why Scorpions’ Chairman Phil Davies is delighted about the club’s inaugural season.

“It’s been an exciting first year,” said Davies. “It’s been a lot of hard work but we always knew that would be the case.

“On the field, we definitely overachieved and surprised a lot of people with our exciting and skilful brand of Rugby League and for that a lot of thanks go to our then coach Anthony Seibold, his assistants as well as those involved with our fantastic youth development structure here in South Wales.

“Off the field, we’re still learning but we’re grateful to the Rugby Football League who are always on the other end of a phone for advise when we need it, plus we have some outstanding directors in Mark Rowley, Rob Buckley and John Brennan who have both brought a lot of money into the club.

“We’ve made a few new signings for 2011 and have a new coach in Aled James who I know is going to do well. We’re all looking forward to kick-off next year and that’s where I have to say thanks to our fantastic supporters club who follow us home and away – you were superb week on week in 2010 and we will welcome your support again next year.”

South Wales Scorpions Supporters Club chairman Andy Birchall echoes these thoughts and is looking forward to the 2011 season.

“As the first year for the Scorpions comes around I would like to think that we have made our mark on Rugby League in the UK,” he said. “I don’t think many clubs gave us a chance and even the bookies had us as outsiders and second favourite to finish bottom, but now there are a lot of clubs and people out there that know who we are and how good we can be.

“The difference between the Scorpions and the Crusaders in there first few years is huge. The Crusaders were a team put together to win the league in their first season and they came close to doing that. Last season, the Scorpions were a mix of players that had played before and those new to the game, and winning the league was never a target in the first season.

“To be honest, the Scorpions are in a lot better position that the Crusaders were in starting their second year. We are doing things slowly and building from the ground up, the club is being guided in the right direction and not rushed, we have players that are Welsh born and are letting the young players come through the squad at their own pace.

“The future of Rugby League in Wales has never looked better and the future of the Scorpions is waiting to be written by the Welsh international players of tomorrow playing for the Scorpions today.”

The Scorpions’ opening home fixture of 2011 is against Whitehaven at The Gnoll on Sunday 20th March (kick-off 1pm). They will also enter the Carnegie Challenge Cup for the first time in 2011 with their first game taking place on the weekend of March 6th to kick-off their competitive season. Season tickets will be valid for this game whether home or away.

The Scorpions will again be playing all their home games on a Sunday as this proved popular with the crowds throughout 2010. Season tickets are priced £35 for concessions, £80 for adults and with up to two children aged under 11 being allowed to have a free season ticket with every adult season ticket bought. They can be bought by going to

Coming up on the Radio Cardiff Sports Show 7th December 2010

- Cricket fans awoke this morning to news that England had won the 2nd Ashes test in Adelaide by an innings and 71 runs. We’ll review the match and look at Andy Flower’s options after the loss of all rounder Stuart Broad.

- We look ahead to a massive weekend of boxing with our expert Mr Matthew Eves.

- In football we’ll discuss Newcastle’s controversial sacking of manager Chris Hughton yesterday, FIFA’s overwhelming rejection of England’s 2018 World Cup bid and Cardiff City’s current poor form.

- Simon will bring us his regular ice hockey update and there’s the chance for you to win 2 pairs of tickets to this Saturday’s match against Sheffield Steelers.

- We also the all-important Fantasy League top 10 countdown.

Get involved with the show by sending us your thoughts about any sporting issue via text, email, Twitter or by phone.
Phone: 02920 235 664
Text: 07728 758 759
Twitter: @RadCardiffSport



Cardiff will play host to both of ERC’s 2011 finals with the 15th Amlin Challenge Cup showpiece match being staged at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday, 20 May (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Heineken Cup final is scheduled for the following day at the Millennium Stadium, the sixth time the tournament decider has been played in the Welsh capital, giving fans the opportunity to experience two high-profile European club finals in the one city in the space of 24 hours.
ERC, the tournament organisers, today (Monday, 6 December) broke new ground by naming the venue for the Amlin Challenge Cup final well in advance of the event.
“Traditionally, we have waited until much closer to the date before selecting the stadium for the Amlin Challenge Cup final,” said ERC Chief Executive Derek McGrath. “However, the tournament has grown in stature to the extent that we are delighted to announce the final venue almost six months in advance of the match itself.
“Last season’s innovative decision to include three Heineken Cup clubs in the Amlin Challenge Cup knock-out stages provided a major boost to the competition, and by announcing the venue for the 2011 final at this time, participating teams as well as fans of European club rugby now know that all roads lead to Cardiff for the weekend of 20 and 21 May.”
The 2011 match will be the first Amlin Challenge Cup final staged in Wales and with capacities of 74,500 and 26,828 respectively, the Millennium Stadium and Cardiff City Stadium could accommodate more than 100,000 fans at both games.
Cardiff Blues became the first Welsh team to win a European title last season when they beat Toulon in the Amlin Challenge Cup final in front of a record crowd of nearly 50,000 in Marseille. The Blues were one of three Heineken Cup teams to qualify for the Amlin Challenge Cup and they defeated Newcastle Falcons, London Wasps and Toulon on the way to a landmark triumph for Welsh rugby.
“The Heineken Cup final has become an important date in the sporting calendar and we believe there is an opportunity to offer fans a tremendous culmination to the European season with a celebration of the best teams in the two ERC tournaments,” added McGrath.
“Ultimately, those four teams will compete for two European trophies in one city. May 20 and 21 promises to be a memorable weekend of sporting action.”
Welsh Assembly Member and Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, said: “With the Millennium Stadium already confirmed as the host venue for the 2011 Heineken Cup final, we are delighted that ERC has decided that Wales will showcase not just one, but two, European finals over two days next May, providing a weekend feast of top class rugby at two of Wales finest stadia.
“Following hot on the heels of a spectacularly successful Ryder Cup, today’s announcement is another important milestone towards Wales’ ambition to stand out amongst the global crowd as a world class major events destination.”
Meanwhile, fans who have already purchased tickets for the Heineken Cup final will have the opportunity to buy Amlin Challenge Cup final tickets at a discount, and that discount will also be available to fans wishing to buy Heineken Cup final tickets. Detailed ticket information for both finals can be found at


Amlin Challenge Cup final ticket prices: £20, £36, £45
Heineken Cup final ticket prices: £30, £50, £60, £70 and £75

·         Fans who have already bought a Heineken Cup ticket, and those wishing to buy a Heineken Cup ticket, can avail of a discount on the purchase of an Amlin Challenge Cup final ticket
·         4-person group tickets for the Amlin Challenge Cup final are available for £50
·         2011 Amlin Challenge Cup final ticket details can be found on and
·         25,000 tickets have been sold to date for the 2011 Heineken Cup final


Francis, Simon, Yousef, Martin and Matthew at the Radio Cardiff Awards 2010.

A big THANK YOU to everyone who voted for us to be the Best Factual/Feature or Programme of 2010.

First aid courses provided to WRU clubs

(Left) Wales squad members Martyn Williams, Chris Czekaj and Scott Andrews with Vicky Cornelius − a St John Wales Training Consultant - and St John Wales ambassador Ieuan Evans

The Welsh Rugby Union and St John Wales have joined forces to teach lifesaving first aid skills to rugby volunteers across Wales.
Thousands of club volunteers help run the game in Wales, common examples of which are coaches, club secretaries, match officials and groundsmen.
Clubs are rewarded through WRU grant funding for having qualified first aiders on their books to assist with matchday operations.
And now, the WRU, through its’ new relationship with St John Cymru Wales, is able to provide first aid courses around Wales to enable more club volunteers to receive expert training in this field.
The first courses will take place at the St John Training Centre in Cardiff on Wednesday 8 December, there is a course at the Newport on January 31 and another in Swansea on February 14. There are then further courses in the spring. If club volunteers in north Wales are interested in participating in a course, St John Ambulance Wales will arrange courses at their Wrexham and / or Llandudno training centres.
The bespoke three-hour course which costs just £25 + VAT per person will equip volunteers with first aid skills which will enable them to deal with common rugby accidents; including head injuries, neck trauma, dislocations, sprains and strains.
Any WRU club volunteer will be able to take part in the specially designed first aid course at St John centres across Wales.
WRU National Development Manager Jason Lewis, said, “Individuals who give up their free time to help develop rugby in their communities are the most important people within the structure of Welsh rugby and are vital to the success of the game at all levels. Rugby clubs simply would not exist without their support.

“Our aim is to make sure that every club has someone who has the first aid knowledge to deal with any eventualities on the pitch.”
Keith Dunn, Chief Executive for St John Wales, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the WRU to deliver these essential first aid courses to rugby clubs throughout Wales.
“Each year up to 150,000 people die in situations where first aid could have given them the chance to live. Teaching these lifesaving skills to rugby volunteers will give them the confidence to deal with emergency situations should one arise.”

To book a St John Wales/WRU first aid course visit or call 0845 678 5646.


Wales are officially the joint hosts with England in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup where they will take on the Cook Islands for only the second time.

This was determined following the draw today (Tuesday) when the World Cup was officially launched at Manchester’s new MediaCityUK development.

The Cook Islands encounter will be a repeat of the meeting from the 2000 tournament which Wales won 38-6 at what was the first ever Rugby League match at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham.

Wales will also play against the winners of the Atlantic and European qualifying competitions in the group stages. Those qualifiers will take place over the next two years with the European group consisting of Italy, Lebanon, Russia and Serbia and the Atlantic group consisting of Jamaica, South Africa and the USA.

The 2013 competition, which will be contested in venues throughout England and Wales, will be the 14th staging of the Rugby League World Cup and has already been backed by Rugby League legend Ellery Hanley and former Olympic medal winner Iwan Thomas.

Having been awarded the rights to host the event in June 2009, the RFL utilised the kick-off event to make a series of major announcements about the tournament, including the identity of 12 qualified teams and to outline the scale of its ambition to host the most successful Rugby League World Cup of all time.

Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Scotland and Tonga were also confirmed as competing nations.

The competition’s structure will consist of two groups of four, with England drawn alongside perennial foes Australia, Fiji and Ireland in Group A and World Cup winners New Zealand facing Pacific Island rivals Papua New Guinea and Samoa as well as France in Group B. Scotland will face Tonga and the European qualifiers in Group C while joint hosts Wales have been drawn against the Cook Islands and the Atlantic Qualifiers in Group D.

In Groups C and D, the countries also play one team from the opposite group with Scotland taking on the Atlantic qualifier, Tonga facing the Cook Islands and Wales playing the European qualifier.

First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said: “It is a privilege for Wales to be given this opportunity. We saw tremendous success during the 1995 World Cup when Wales was host to numerous fixtures and the Welsh public came out in force to support their home team and to witness some of the world’s greatest players.

“With Rugby League enjoying a new found growth in Wales in recent years and with the sport having been played in schools throughout the country for the past eight years, we are confident that hosting games in venues such as the Millennium Stadium will be a great way of helping boost the sport in Wales.

“Hosting such an event will also provide a welcome financial boost to those towns and cities who secure the right to host fixtures, training camps and house the playing squads and with the potential for many visitors set to be attracted to these shores, the economic impact has the potential to be great.”

Speaking at the tournament’s kick-off event held at MediaCityUK, in what was the first event of its kind to be held at the new venue, RFL Chairman Richard Lewis said: “It is a great boost for Rugby League in this country to secure the World Cup in 2013. The last tournament staged in Australia in 2008 was an enormous success.

“Our aim is to build on that success and to deliver a profitable tournament that further enhances the international game across the globe and raises the profile of the sport in the UK.”

Speaking in the events promotional video, Prime Minister David Cameron also put the weight of the Coalition government behind the RFL’s announcement, emphasising the sporting potential the next decade offers.

“This government is right behind the RFL,” said Cameron. “As one of the sports that this country holds closest to its heart, we know what a privilege and honour it is to host this tournament and I’m fully confident that the RFL will do the United Kingdom proud and I look forward to working closely with them to make sure it is a great success.

“The next decade promises to be one of the most exciting in our country’s history. There will be the Olympics, the Cricket World Cup, hopefully the Football World Cup and the Rugby League World Cup. Coming so soon after the Olympics, the RFL have the opportunity to ride on the crest of that wave and host and truly memorable tournament.”