Phil Davies resigns as Cardiff Blues director of rugby

Cardiff Blues director of rugby Phil Davies leaves the Welsh region fresh from a 15-10 loss to Italian side Zebre

Cardiff Blues have confirmed that Phil Davies has resigned as the club’s director of rugby with immediate effect.

The former Wales international handed in his resignation at the beleaguered Welsh region after crisis talks today at Cardiff Arms Park following the Blues’ slump to tenth in the RaboDirect Pro12 after Saturday’s embarrassing 15-10 defeat by Italian side Zebre.

Under the 50-year-old’s leadership, the Blues picked up just four wins in 16 league matches this season in addition to three wins in the Heineken Cup, including a famous 19-15 win over Toulon at the Arms Park.

It’s been two years of massive change at Blues

Phil Davies

However, a combination of injuries, loss of players to Wales’ Six Nations squad and the slump in form saw just one win in 10 matches following a Heineken Cup double over Glasgow Warriors in December.

Davies joined the club in May 2012 and oversaw a ninth-place finish in the league last season, but despite being under contract until the end of the current campaign, the former Leeds Tykes and Scarlets man has decided it is the right time to move on despite orchestrating a host of new signings due to arrive in the summer.

“This is a decision that I’ve not taken lightly, but one that I’ve made in view of my future career and my past experiences in professional rugby,” Davies said in a statement.

“I’ve enjoyed the role and the leadership, processes and the high performance elements. I feel this is the right time for me to look to the next challenge and other opportunities in performance development.

“It’s been two years of massive change at Blues, in terms of the systems we have put in place. When I came here I was told to look at the bigger picture and make changes as a totally new group of young players came through.”

His record at the Blues saw the capital side win just 20 of 58 competitive matches, with 37 defeats and one draw, but Davies is proud of his achievements in trying to turnaround the cash-strapped region.

“I’ve been delighted to see talented youngsters like Rhys Patchell, Owen Williams, Josh Navidi and Cory Allen gain international honours while the likes of Macauley Cook, Kristian Dacey and Sam Hobbs have all developed and are the building blocks for the future,” Davies added.

“I’m proud of the work that has gone on to put this region in a stronger position. The career pathway for players and coaches is now clear, from age grade rugby to the academy and Premiership. We have an excellent academy system and the coaches in place, with men like Dale McIntosh and Paul John, to really drive this region forward.

“I would like to thank the chairman, Peter Thomas, for his fantastic support both during my time at the region and also as a player and coach. The support I’ve always had from him and his family has been fantastic and I’m grateful for that. Also I want to thank Richard Holland and the rest of the board of directors at Blues for their support over the last two years. Finally, I pay tribute to all the team at Cardiff Blues for their hard work, dedication and professionalism.

“I’m sure with the squad being assembled for next season and beyond, Cardiff Blues will enjoy a bright future and I wish them every success.”
With six matches remaining in the Pro12, existing Blues coaches Dale McIntosh and Paul John will oversee the senior team as the region begins its search for a successor to Davies.

“I’ve always enjoyed a strong relationship with Phil and would like to thank him for his contribution to Cardiff Blues during his tenure,” said Blues chief executive Richard Holland.

“Throughout his time at the region, Phil has worked passionately to develop the right infrastructure here and a pathway for aspiring players and coaches. He has overseen a period of massive change and I’m sure in the future we will see the benefits of his work.

“We now look to take the region forward with new leadership and, on behalf of all the staff at the Blues, I would like to wish Phil and his family every success in the future.”

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