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bushytop

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Two big stories coming out of the Blues today, Peter Thomas not only stepping down but completely writing off the millions of pounds that the club were in debt to him for... and now from nowhere it looks like Dmitri Arhip will be signing for next season.

I had my concerns when Richard Holland said they had signed a top level tight head but wanted to remain quiet, well if this is what he was talking about (or even if it’s just miraculously fallen into place) that’s a great transfer. Should be a great mentor for Dillon Lewis too.

Interesting times for the longtime suffering Blues fans.
 

bushytop

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So Mulvihill has just announced that the Blues have closed shop on transfers for the coming season and with where it stood until a week or two ago (no news on anything at all), I think he and the board have done well. Prior to any signings being made, the predominant view was that the squad needed strengthening at tight head, lock and some number 8 coverage for Nick Williams if they could manage the finances.

Well that has been achieved and with Dmitri Arhip and Samu Manoa I think that the Blues have attracted players above the quality that I was expecting. Those two just about cover the wish list too, what with Manoa being able to play Lock and at 8. On top of that there are the signings of Rory Thornton (loan) another second row and back three cover with Jason Harries. I think they’ve done pretty well all things considered.

Tough group for them in the Heineken Cup but I think anything less than achieving a Pro 14 play off spot would be a big disappointment. The turnaround from when Danny Wilson announced his exit last September has been unbelievable to be fair, it could be an exciting season for the long suffering Blues supporters.
 

dullonien

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Worth noting that having Sam Warburton and Tom James back from injury/illness should feel a little like new signings as well.

Excited about the coming season for the Blues. Like you, I'd expect a big push for a playoff spot. A decent showing in the Champions Cup is also possible with that matchday squad, but injuries will be key, and it also takes a few years to get up to speed in the Champions Cup (Glasgow and Exeter being prime examples, along with Scarlets before this season).
 

bushytop

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Worth noting that having Sam Warburton and Tom James back from injury/illness should feel a little like new signings as well.

Excited about the coming season for the Blues. Like you, I'd expect a big push for a playoff spot. A decent showing in the Champions Cup is also possible with that matchday squad, but injuries will be key, and it also takes a few years to get up to speed in the Champions Cup (Glasgow and Exeter being prime examples, along with Scarlets before this season).

Warburton in particular, who you’d think would be ‘managed’ well to perform in the Heineken Cup games in the manner Leinster does with their big names.

Just looking at their HC group and I agree with you that it generally takes sides a while to acclimate. The group is not impossible but will be extremely hard going for the Blues. Saracens would obvs be favourites to win the group with Glasgow probably favourites to finish runners up. Lyon will be tough over in France, and they’ve just signed one of my fave players right now in Charlie Ngatai, so if we are being honest it’s unlikely that they will qualify but I would like to think they Blues will be competitive at the very least.
 

bushytop

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So, as shocking as it seems, Sam Warburton has just announced his retirement from the game at 29. As a rugby fan and Welsh man I’m pretty devastated to hear this news. He has had some detractors at a couple of points in his career and struggled for consistent prolonged periods of fitness but was a great player and captain.

I know both the Blues and Wales seem to have an abundance of great backrow players at the moment, high quality 7’s in particular but a fully fit Sam would still be my first choice every time.

I remember my old man stating back in 2015 that after the battering Gatland had asked of all three of our then consistently used back row (Warby, Lydiate and Faletau) that only Talupe might be around by the next World Cup and this kinda proves him right with Lydiate as far away from the squad as when he was tackling sheep on his farm as a kid.

Again, just devastated to hear this.
 

bushytop

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I know this sounds a bit heartless but the Blues should move fast to bring in another player (prob not a seven if I’m honest) on the money that would have been used to pay Sam the 40% of his dual contract.
 

stus768

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I know this sounds a bit heartless but the Blues should move fast to bring in another player (prob not a seven if I’m honest) on the money that would have been used to pay Sam the 40% of his dual contract.
Would they not already have been made aware of his desire to retire and have spent the money on players like Manu Samoa?
 

bushytop

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Would they not already have been made aware of his desire to retire and have spent the money on players like Manu Samoa?

Yeah probably
 

Thingimubob

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Blues did announce last week that they had finished all their transfers and weren't looking to sign anyone else:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/44801279

Gonna assume they were in the loop about Warbs' future, so think it's already been factored in as stus said.

While a huge loss for the squad, we do at least have a lot of fantastic 7s who can come in and lead from the front - Navidi, Jenkins and Robinson have all had great stints with the 6/7 shirts on their back, and expect that to continue this season!

Be interesting to see what Warbs does next though, I enjoyed his punditry in the 6N so can imagine him slotting into that quite nicely.

Would love to see him go into coaching and carry on the success he had as a player, so I hope Mulvihill keeps him around the squad in some capacity.
 

RedruthRFC

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Would they not already have been made aware of his desire to retire and have spent the money on players like Manu Samoa?

Samu Manoa is a BIG bloke, but even he's not quite the size of a country!
 

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Gethin Jenkins retiring after Sunday.

All the best big man, stalwart of the game.
 

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Interesting story saying scarlets are trying to poach Peel from cardiff before he even started. Seems strange this could happen, he either has a contract or not unless he really wants to go to scarlets. Hope it works out well for him, he seems like a good coach
 

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