Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Wales Online
Wales Online
Jon Doel & Ben James

Today's rugby news as Cardiff delay pre-season training amid Dai Young absence and fresh talks begin over crisis club

Here are the latest rugby headlines on Thursday, June 8.

Cardiff training pushed back amid Young uncertainty

Cardiff have pushed back the start of their pre-season training as uncertainty still reigns over the future of director of rugby David Young.

The Arms Park side were meant to start their pre-season training on June 5, but that has been pushed back a couple of weeks until things are further sorted out.

It's understood that pre-season training will now begin on June 19 for Cardiff. That's the same date as the Scarlets, who were due to start two weeks later having had a longer season with a Challenge Cup semi-final.

SIGN UP: Get the latest exclusive stories and breaking rugby headlines sent straight to your inbox for free with our daily newsletter.

The big fear heading into the new season for Cardiff is the sheer uncertainty in terms of personnel and coaching staff.

The Arms Park side saw 16 players leave at the end of this season, as tightened budgets saw them unable to offer competitive contracts to players. With 11 players in the 50-man Wales World Cup training squad after Rhys Carre was dropped by Warren Gatland, Cardiff face starting the pre-season with roughly 20 players in camp.

With squad numbers dwindling, the idea of training against other regions throughout next season has been floated, while a formal regional loan system has also been considered. Neither idea seem likely to help Cardiff in the short-term.

The club are desperately short in some positions, like fly-half and centre, with reinforcements tricky to make with money being tight. One fly-half option, South African Tinus de Beer, was blocked by the Welsh Rugby Union in favour of home-grown options - despite Cardiff being in the Champions Cup next season without an experienced 10 following the departures of Jarrod Evans and Rhys Priestland.

Sam Davies was briefly an option before his move to Grenoble, while Rhys Patchell seems set to join the Dragons. Gareth Anscombe had appeared set for a move to either Japan or France, but recently hinted at a desire to stay in Wales.

A return to Cardiff would make sense, but finances could be a stumbling block after they were unable to keep hold of Evans. Any announcements on signings are unlikely to be made before the situation with Young is resolved.

Cardiff's director of rugby was suspended ahead of the final league game of the season after the club received a number of complaints from employees. Nothing has been said publicly about the nature of the allegations, with no update expected on the situation in the immediate future.

As such, it's unclear who will be taking charge of Cardiff when they do return to training, with Richard Hodges, the man who stepped in for the final game of the season, having left his post as defence coach to join Zebre's coaching ticket.

Talks start to set up London Irish phoenix club

Rugby bosses have begun what are being dubbed 'exploratory discussions' about the possibility of in effect setting up a London Irish phoenix club.

The Telegraph report the RFU and their Irish counterparts are looking at ways to keep the London Irish brand going.

London Irish have followed Worcester and Wasps out of the English Premiership as the financial crisis bites deep in the top league across the Bridge.

The Irish RFU, it is said, want to create more playing options for 'the bottleneck of talent within the Irish academy'.

The two unions have confirmed talks have begun but only at an embryonic stage.

The IRFU told the paper "it had no plans currently to invest in rugby outside of Ireland.”

A statement continued: “The RFU has informally kept the IRFU updated on the situation at London Irish. Naturally the IRFU is saddened by what has happened at the club and hope that the club’s difficulties can be resolved sometime in the future.”

BT Sport want rebate after loss of clubs

English Premiership clubs face a further financial hit amid reports BT Sport are demanding a rebate after the loss of yet another team.

London Irish have followed Wasps and Worcester in going bust, reducing the 13-team Premiership to 10 for next season.

MailOnline report BT Sport are arguing the loss of teams has significantly reduced the value of the TV contract, which is worth £110m over three years. It has one year left to run.

Premiership Rugby are said to understand BT Sport's viewpoint but are determined to limit the size of the rebate with many of the remaining 10 clubs struggling financially.

Former Cardiff favourite retires

Former Cardiff stalwart Macauley Cook has retired from rugby.

Cook, who most recently won the English Championship title with Jersey Reds, is hanging up his boots at the age of 31.

The versatile back five forward from the Rhondda made 167 appearances for the Arms Park outfit in all, covering both the back row and lock, before leaving in 2020.

Having graduated to the Blues Academy from his local club Treorchy, he made his senior regional debut against Exeter in 2010.

He said: "After 13 seasons of professional rugby I’ve decided to call time on my professional career. From my debut as an 18-year-old at Cardiff Blues in 2010 to my last game for Jersey Reds to win the league - it's been one hell of a ride!

"Thank you for everyone who helped along the way. Coaches, staff, players and supporters but to most of all my family and Sophie my fiancée who have been there through thick and thin. Whether it was driving me everywhere as a kid, to solid advice throughout I will be always grateful to you for your constant love and support."

Read more:

WRU chief says player wages 'out of control', bosses 'got carried away' and cutbacks only way to avoid English disaster

Wales international Davies gets jolting news from new club as reassurance offered

Wales' most exciting young rugby players identified as world stage awaits

Nigel Walker defends decision to ban Wales international from playing at World Cup

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.