The bookmakers aren’t backing Cardiff Blues to challenge for the inaugural Guinness Pro14 title this season, and the club’s chances haven’t been helped by the recent announcement that captain Sam Warburton will be absent for four months following surgery.
The 28-year-old underwent treatment on a long-term neck injury but will be out of action for the next four months, ruling one of the team’s key members out until early 2018.
The Blues have lost both of their first games of the new term in Conference A of the Pro14, and they’ve dropped from 66/1 (67.00) outsiders to even longer odds of 100/1 (101.00) in the space of four days. In contrast, Leinster are 13/8 (2.63) favourites, followed closely by Irish rivals Munster, who are found at 11/4 (3.75) to win the Pro14 title with William Hill.
The Blues know what it’s like to play without Warburton’s talents from injury spells in the past, but head coach Danny Wilson couldn’t help but bemoan his loss and said:
“It is a major blow for all concerned, for Cardiff Blues, Wales and Sam Warburton. It is a long standing issue Sam has had. He gets pain and discomfort on and off. The feeling was that the two months off [after the Lions tour] to allow that to completely settle without any rugby would do him the world of good, which to be fair it did.
“He is frustrated because he would have thought after two months he would have been quite fresh. But it is the right thing to do. For him personally it’s another frustration in terms of an injury he has to come back from.”
Image courtesy of Sky Sports.
Guinness Pro14 Odds
Leinster: 13/8 (2.63)
Munster: 11/4 (3.75)
Scarlets: 5/1 (6.00)
Glasgow Warriors: 13/2 (7.50)
Ulster: 9/1 (10.00)
Ospreys: 12/1 (13.00)
Edinburgh: 40/1 (41.00)
Connacht: 50/1 (51.00)
Cardiff Blues: 100/1 (101.00)