Sunday 23 July 2017

Competitive Welsh teams look a threat

John Muldoon is tackled by Gavin Evans as Connacht take on Cardiff Blues in last season's PRO12. Picture: Sportsfile
John Muldoon is tackled by Gavin Evans as Connacht take on Cardiff Blues in last season's PRO12. Picture: Sportsfile

Johnny O'Connor

Last year when Connacht met Cardiff they may have been scared of them but they still would have expected to win.

But now everything has changed and Cardiff seem to be a very serious proposition at the start of this season. And it's great for the Pro12 to see more teams adding to the competitiveness.

Themselves, Ulster and Ospreys are the top dogs so far in 2016-'17, but Ospreys and Ulster have always been there or thereabouts. Except for last year when Ospreys just left themselves with too much to do following the World Cup and Six Nations.

On the other hand Cardiff have always been the third best Welsh side in the Pro12. But after some smart acquisitions in the summer they have blazed a trail in the opening three games. They had a big win over Edinburgh in Round 1, but they were still going along quietly until they beat Munster in Cork. That performance showed their full potential and then they backed that up against Glasgow Warriors in case people weren't already convinced.

We see what Argentina have done in recent years since their inclusion in the Rugby Championship. Competitiveness makes every team better, and hopefully Connacht can go that way too with more sides popping up and winning matches around the Pro12.

Irish Independent

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