Cardiff Blues have enjoyed a wealth of riches in the back-row over recent years and in no position more so than openside flanker. The Arms Park has been home to successive Wales sevens.
Josh Navidi booked his place in the Ultimate XV at blindside flanker, so we've taken him out of the running for the openside but who will join him?
Ellis Jenkins (2011-present | 104 appearances | 11 tries | 11 caps for Wales)
Ellis Jenkins is the current club captain, having graduate from the academy to make his regional debut in 2011 and gone on to join the ‘100 Club’. The back row has proven his leadership credentials, captaining the region to their second Challenge Cup final win, and would later skipper Wales on their undefeated summer tour to the Americas. The back row is an all-rounder, proving to be a menace in the tackle and breakdown areas, but also possessing fine footballing ability and rugby intelligence.
Olly Robinson (2017-present | 64 appearances | 9 tries)
When Olly Robinson arrived at Cardiff Blues on loan from Bristol in 2017, few could’ve predicted his impact at the Welsh capital. By the end of the season, Robinson had signed a permanent deal with the region and was named man of the match in the Challenge Cup final win over Gloucester. Robinson has become a cult hero with the region and was also rewarded the PRO14’s Tackle Machine and Turnover King, highlighting his threat at the breakdown.
Robin Sowden-Taylor (2003-2010 | 112 appearances | 10 tries | 8 caps for Wales)
‘Cyril’ is another played who has captained the region and he picked up the Players’ Player of the Season in 2007/08, having showed his character to bounce back from a serious ankle injury. Sowden-Taylor was a member of the 2005 and 2008 Grand Slam-winning squads and departed the Arms Park in 2010 to join Dragons. He has since returned to the Arms Park, where he is the current head of strength and conditioning.
Sam Warburton (2008-2017 | 106 appearances | 9 tries | 74 caps for Wales | 5 caps for British and Irish Lions )
Sam Warburton has a glittering rugby CV, having skippered the British and Irish Lions on two tours and won multiple Grand Slams and Six Nations titles for Wales. The back row established himself as one of the finest openside flankers in the world during his peak, and was a menace at the breakdown. He made his Cardiff Blues debut in 2008, having graduated from the academy, and came off the bench in the 2010 Amlin Cup final win. He would make his 100th appearance against Dragons on Boxing Day 2016.
Martyn Williams (2003-2012 | 143 appearances | 18 tries | 100 caps for Wales | 4 caps for British and Irish Lions)
Having initially moved to the Arms Park from Pontypridd in the pre-regional era, Martyn Williams was Cardiff Blues’ first ever captain. Williams soon established himself as one of the finest openside flankers in European rugby and wore the number seven jersey as Cardiff Blues claimed the EDF Energy Cup and the Amlin Cup. On the international stage, the back row featured in three Rugby World Cup, reached a century of caps for Wales, went on three British and Irish Lions tours and won two Grand Slams with Wales, being named Player of the Tournament in the 2005 Six Nations.
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