Cardiff Blues produced a comprehensive display at Twickenham on Saturday to outplay Gloucester and confirm their status at the top of the Anglo-Welsh tree, and the ramifications could be wider than you think.
The 50-12 victory over Gloucester was so convincing that the result was never in doubt, dominating in every area of the game, from the set-piece to the more creative attack.
The title of Anglo-Welsh champions is not necessarily as grand as it sounds, given the disdain with which some teams treat this competition. This title is not the most coveted piece of silverware, but in my opinion, that does not mask the fact that Cardiff are currently the outstanding team in all of England and Wales.
Gloucester, on the other hand, will be licking their wounds and considering their demise from the top of the rugby tree. Dean Ryan has said that they’ll be making some changes at the club, and you have to wonder whether one of those changes will be a new coach.
In another part of the UK, Leicester will be watching the video with some concern ahead of their Heineken Cup semi-final, and on this evidence, I don’t fancy their chances. There was discussion last week that Cardiff had outshone the Ospreys as Wales’ best performing team, and the nature of their EDF Energy Cup triumph and the likelihood of reaching the European final must confirm their position.
The carrot of this week’s Lions squad selection may also have played on the minds of players such as Martyn Williams, Leigh Halfpenny and Tom Shanklin, all of whom made a convincing case to Ian McGeechan for their selection.
There is also a chance that the EDF Energy Cup administrators may have changed their mind about an overhaul of the competition for next season. There have been suggestions that the cup will not exist next year, but although there should be significant changes to the format, it seems likely that a version of the Cup will be played in one way or another.
So congratulations to Cardiff as we look forward to the effect that that match will have on events over the next few weeks, starting with the Lions selection tomorrow which I am ridiculously excited about.