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Con’t: O’Flaherty speaks to Gair Rhydd

Mark Wyatt

Playing rugby for Cardiff has genuinley been an integral part of my rugby career. Tom O’Flaherty

GR: Raised in London, playing in Wales and studying French – where can you see yourself playing in the future? Tom: I have no idea! We’ll have to wait and see what happens I suppose. I was playing in France last year at Montpellier whilst I was studying and I loved that. I guess I’ll just have to see what opportunities come my way and wherever I’m playing my rugby I’m sure I’ll be happy. GR: What are your personal goals for your game over the next few years, are Pro-12 and international rugby at the forefront for you? Tom: I’m looking forward to the next step and I’m trying not to get carried away. I’m still relatively young as a player and so obviously every opportunity that comes my way I’m looking to grab it with both hands.

Pictured: Tom O’Flaherty in action for Bridgend (Photography from Twitter)

Hal Robson-Kanu makes Puskas award shortlist

Shaun Davey

Gareth Axenderrie Cardiff City Columnist

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ales international striker Hal Robson-Kanu has been nominated for the prestigious FIFA Puskas award. The West Bromwich Albion forward’s sensational goal against Belgium at Euro 2016 has been deservedly shortlisted. The award is given to the player deemed to have scored the best goal throughout the course of the year and the Welsh forward’s breath-taking Cruyff turn goal that put Wales through to the semi-finals of last Summer’s tournament has made it on Fifa’s Puskas award 10man shortlist. Robson-Kanu, who was a free agent at the time, famously turned past three Belgian defenders before slotting a strike to the left side of Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois who was unable to stop a goal that arguably goes down as the biggest goal in Welsh footballing history. The wonder goal put Wales 2-1 ahead at the time against many people favourites for the tournament Belgium, and it was a game that re-defined Chris Coleman’s career as his team eventually went on to win 3-1 and set up a European semi-final against eventual winners Portugal. The goal was named as the BBC’s goal of the tournament and RobsonKanu will be hoping to pull off a remarkable double when the winner

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ardiff City’s defeats against Wigan and Newcastle were rectified against Huddersfield in what Neil Warnock described as ‘a cracking Championship game’. Warnock’s work is far from over as though as big fixtures approach. After two defeats in two games against Wigan and Newcastle, Cardiff needed to bag some points against the Terriers who were experiencing a dramatic drop in form. Cardiff City held on in a brilliant game to secure all three points despite seeing very little of the ball in the second half. First half goals from

Pictured: Hal RobsonKanu takes aim aganst Israel last year. (Photgrapher: Jon Candy).

is announced next year in January. The award named after Hungarian footballing legend Ferenc Puskas is a highlight of the football calendar, and Robson-Kanu faces incredibly tough competition and is in good company with Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Neymar also shortlisted amongst the 10-nominees. Also included on the list is Villarreal defender Mario Gaspar acrobatic effort for Spain against England

last November as is Daniuska Rodriguez’s goal for Venezuela against Colombia in the South American under 17 Women’s Championship. Hlompho Kekana (South Africa), Marlone (Brazil), Saul Niguez (Spain), Simon Skrabb (Finland) and Mohd Faiz Subri (Malaysia) complete the top 10. The current holder of the award is recently retired Brazillian Striker Wendell Lira, but previous winners

of the award include no other than Real Madrid forward and Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Voting is open now and the shortlist will be whittled down to just three in early December. Welsh fans and football fans alike are encouraged to vote for the best goal, with the winner of the award to be announced at the Fifa Awards ceremony on January 9.

Junior Hoilett, Rickie Lambert and Sean Morrison were enough for the Bluebirds. Cardiff ’s three goals were all well worked but the highlight of the game came from Huddersfield’s substitute Phil Billing who scored a stunning strike in the second half which made the game 3-2. Warnock’s teams are notorious for being hard to beat and Cardiff demonstrated this during the last twenty minutes of their game against Huddersfield. Wave after wave of attack from the visitors was met by the towering presence of Sol Bamba and

Sean Morrison, who stood tall and defender the line superbly well. Warnock was full of praise for his defence after the game. He said: “It’s difficult to play Huddersfield because they have the ball so much, but we limited them to few and far between chances, I thought we were super everywhere.” Cardiff still sit perilously close to the relegation zone. After the vital victory against Huddersfield, Sol Bamba said: “Neil said from day one we don’t deserve to be down there and we’ll do what we can to get up the table.” He added: “You deserve to be up there

when you play good football. There are a few good teams in the league and we’ve started late.” A home game next against Brighton will not ease the pressure on the Bluebirds. Brighton currently sit second in the table behind Newcastle and have a goal difference three times that of any other club in the league besides the league leaders. Fixtures against the Seagulls have not been happy ones for Cardiff fans in recent years. Cardiff have only won 1 of the last 8 fixtures, that one coming in February this year. You have to go back to 2007 to find another Cardiff victory over Brighton.

Gair Rhydd 1088 - 28th November 2016  
Gair Rhydd 1088 - 28th November 2016  
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