Boyde to wear blue
By Craig Muncey
May 22 2019
An article looking at the recent announcement that Will Boyde after plenty of rumours on social media was indeed joining Cardiff Blues. A very good back row player who at 24-years old still has plenty of rugby years ahead of him in his career.
Boyde to wear blue
After prolonged rumours, this week it was finally confirmed that Will Boyde, previously of the Scarlets would be joining Cardiff Blues for next season. The 24-year old backrower, was surprisingly released by the Scarlets at the end of the season amid disdain from Scarlets fans on social media when that news broke, just demonstrating how highly rated the player was by his fans, but as is commonplace in Welsh rugby, in particular, Scarlets looked at finances and with others playing in the squad who can play in the back row who are still under contract, took the decision not to renew his contract and to release the Narberth born player.
When the original story broke of a link to the player coming to Cardiff Blues, there were some confused looks. Cardiff Blues at the time was in talks with the WRU as Cardiff Blues were trying to retain the services of number eight powerhouse, Nick Williams, who initially the WRU had made a decision that with the player’s contract up for renewal, they did not want the club to renew his contract. The reason given was that they felt that this blocked the opportunity for a young Welsh qualified player in that position, and with a player such as Williams who is politely put, a veteran in his rugby career, he should, therefore, be moved on. Fortunately, common sense triumphed, and Williams will be the Arms Park next season with Cardiff Blues, but with him remaining, and finances being limiting, would that mean that Boyde would now not be coming to the Cardiff Blues? Well, now we know that both will be available for next season, which for Cardiff Blues fans is excellent news.
With WRU’s original decision on Williams, you wonder if there something also to the story of this transfer, in addition to Cardiff Blues wanting to acquire an outstanding, versatile rugby player? Some possible justification could be that WRU still wants the club to bring through a replacement for Williams who is Welsh qualified and Boyde ticks those respective boxes? Could it be that Wayne Pivac, ex-Scarlets coach, and soon to be Welsh coach, sought Boyde to be kept in Wales playing and felt Cardiff Blues was a good fit? Ultimately, I do not know, and those two options may not be the case at all, I just find it slightly puzzling that as good a player as Boyde is, with limited funds at the club and the necessity for more pressing positional positions to be filled, such as fly-half, prop and lock, why would you spend money on a player who plays in an area where the club is blessed with players, such as Josh Turnbull, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Josh Navidi, Ellis Jenkins, Ollie Robinson, Alun Lawrence, James Botham and of course, Nick Williams? Even with international call up’s, injuries, etc., which internationally, would impact Navidi and Jenkins presently only, there is plenty of cover and ability in the six, seven and eight positions I would suggest unlike the other positions I have listed, but that is not a concern of Boyde nor should it be.
As a player, Boyde is an excellent player and has been playing to a consistently high level for a few seasons now. He made his debut for Scarlets in 2014, against his new team, Cardiff Blues and has played in all three positions in the back row for them to a very high standard and he is still only 24 years of age, so his best years could be ahead of him injuries permitting. I recall watching him play for Scarlets against Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park in 2016 when he played at openside flanker, and he was outstanding on the night, and I felt and others, that he was the best player on the pitch. He was a complete nuisance at the breakdown, and that level of performance was certainly not a one-off event.
Some of his characteristics in his play remind me a lot of someone who he will undoubtedly play alongside over the coming seasons, and that player is Josh Navidi. Boyde is physically active, at the breakdown with others joining and trying to remove him from a dominant position, he can maintain his position over the ball, longer than many others similar to Navidi. And again, as Navidi is, Boyde is an excellent ball carrier. Both players are squat in stature, and with a low centre of gravity and a strong leg drive with good acceleration and are extremely hard to stop at initial contact, and make good yardage making positive gains, which is so essential to all rugby teams. Navidi and Boyde are great additions for any squads with their versatility, being able to play all three back row positions to a very high standard, with a relatively small squad over a long season, this capability is worth its weight in gold.
I wish the player every success with the Cardiff Blues, and I am sure when given the opportunity he will show what many of us already know, he is a very good rugby player who will not let anyone down. It will be interesting to see where he plays the majority of his starts for the club, I personally, think with the makeup of the squad currently, it will be at 8 providing Williams with some opportunities to sit some games out. I can also certainly see Boyde being a player who regularly makes the matchday squad, with that ability off the bench to cover the whole back row. Cannot wait to see him playing for Cardiff Blues our gain is certainly the Scarlets loss!pqs: qs: