Your Sunday rugby headlines for Sunday, 19 December.
Welsh sides ‘shafted’ in Europe
Former Wales winger Shane Williams believes the Welsh sides have been ‘shafted’ by European rugby this season.
The Champions Cup has descended into chaos thanks to the rise in Covid cases – with the Scarlets seeing both of their fixtures called off, while the Ospreys’ trip to Racing 92 this weekend also bit the dust.
Cardiff have managed to fulfil their fixtures with a scratch side, but it’s the inconsistencies of European rugby bosses that will leave many in Wales feeling hard done by.
Writing in his Rugby Paper column, Williams said: “European rugby is in chaos and it’s hard to escape the feeling that the Welsh sides have had the rough end of the stick in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.
“Three of the Welsh regions – Cardiff, Ospreys and Scarlets – have been shafted by the decision making of European rugby bosses. It’s all an absolute mess.”
Calling the decision not to allow the Scarlets to reschedule first round clash with Bristol before allowing a blanket rescheduling for fixtures involving French sides in the second “double standards”, Williams added: “How can that be fair?
“The perception is that they are making it all up as they go along. It all makes rugby look very, very amateur.”
‘Dream come true’ for Cabango
Theo Cabango’s rapid start to life in senior rugby continued as he scored a stunning solo try in Cardiff’s Champions Cup defeat to Harlequins on Saturday.
And speaking afterwards, the 19-year-old admitted that it was a ‘mind-blowing’ experience – having not long been playing in the Welsh Premiership.
“We’re not taking it so much as a loss, we’re just happy to build together as a team because we’ve quite an unfortunate situation,” he told Channel 4.
“We made the most of it, have come together as one and I’m just really proud of what we’ve done. For the support as well, who came down here, it’s amazing.
“It’s a dream come true just to be playing against the likes of Marcus Smith and last week Antoine Dupont. It’s mind-blowing – one week you are playing for Cardiff RFC and the next for Cardiff Rugby!
“It’s amazing and I think most of us took that opportunity. It just goes to show what we can do and prove that we are here for a reason.”
Quins star full of praise for Cardiff
It was England No. 8 Alex Dombrandt who largely proved the difference between Quins and Cardiff – with the former Cardiff Met student scoring twice and coming away with the man of the match award.
Afterwards, while admitting he was looking forward to catching up with mates in the Welsh capital when the two sides are scheduled to meet again in January, he was full of praise for Gruff Rees’ patched-up side.
“In the first half I don’t think we were good enough but in the second half I was really proud of the boys’ efforts,” said Dombrandt.
“Full credit to them [Cardiff]. They’re in a tricky situation as a club at the moment but I think their supporters and the club can be really proud of their efforts.
“We knew it was going to be tough. They’ve got some quality players, even with all the disruption they’ve had, and they were right there for 60 minutes, so we had to be on top of our game to get the result.”