By Rhys Thomas
July 2 2010
Our new journalist, Rhys Thomas, continues his series of 'Position Focus'. This week, Rhys looks at the Number 8 position, a key role for so many reasons...
The Incumbent - Xavier Rush
Xavier Rush is the mainstay of this Cardiff Blues team. His leading from the front and determination to win have made him a favourite with fellow players and fans alike. He has shown in recent Barbarian and Cardiff Blues games what an inspirational player he is. Ryan Jones and Jonathan Thomas could learn a few things from Rush; putting the team first and always running hard and straight at the opposition, thus exposing the drift defences of the top teams in Europe. He aims to stay up in the tackle and keep the game going, and if he goes down the ball is recycled immediately. A good example of this was in the Amlin cup semi-final against Wasps, where he set up the try for Leigh Halfpenny. He's always under high balls, and as soon as he takes the ball, he is looking to make yards - something that Wales desperately need! I think that with Rush, the Blues should be challenging for the Heineken Cup next season. He, like lots of others in the squad, isn't getting any younger, and if the Blues' fail to win the cup in the next 2 seasons then we could be waiting a long time for the next trophy.
The Challenger - Andy Powell
It's been a turbulent season for Andy Powell. He was involved in the now infamous golf buggy incident, 'Buggygate', was kicked out of the Wales team and has been kept out of the Blues' team by Xavier Rush. Despite all this, and the fact that he wants to go to Rugby League, Warren Gatland had picked him for the Wales games against South Africa and New Zealand before his injury. Unlike Rush, Powell is always looking for the offload when going into the tackle. This should favour the Blues' and Wales' attacking style of play, but Powell gets turned over a lot, meaning he plays second fiddle to Rush. The question is, has Powell got what it takes to force his way into the starting XV?
The Future - Tom Brown
New signing Tom Brown is held in high regard by many London Welsh supporters. He was named London Welsh player of the season for 2008/9, and is renowned for his storming runs. He will look to get as many appearances as possible under his belt whilst Andy Powell is away on international duty. He has also played for Wales under 21's in the 2004 World Cup. He also played for the Wales Rugby league team in that year, so he has experience at a high level of Rugby.
well!!!! Anyone could get confused with a "I'm a little teapot" stance like that..
Who wants to tell Xav?