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Festive derbies are the highlights of the rugby calendar - Cabango

First Team News | 23rd December 2022

The festive derbies are the highlight of the rugby calendar in Wales, says Theo Cabango, who recalls watching the Blue and Blacks facing their Welsh rivals as a youngster.

It’s been more than a year since the academy wing burst onto the scene with two thrilling performances against Toulouse and Harlequins in the Heineken Champions Cup.

But 12 months, 17 appearances and six tries later, Cabango is very much in the frame to compete for a spot in the highly competitive back three division. The 21 year old is set to link up with internationals Josh Adams and Owen Lane when Cardiff travel to Rodney Parade on Boxing Day. 

Cabango is relishing the challenge ahead and hopes his side can use their win over Dragons RFC earlier this as a springboard for success in Newport.

The wing explained: “The derbies are always exciting to watch around Christmas. They’re always special games with the physicality and the star players playing too.

“As a kid, it was always something good to watch. Derby games are the ones you always look out for and are definitely marked down on the calendar because of the big rivalries, the physicality and just how they’re always pretty close, especially against Dragons.

“When you look back at the scores, they’re always tight games.

“So I’m looking forward to that one, and you obviously play against Rio Dyer too, which will be amazing. He’s obviously an international now, and putting yourself in difficult positions is when you really find out how much you’ve improved, what needs to be improved on further and just where you’re at as a player.

“So it will be a good test for me personally and for the team. We’re looking forward to it.

“We’ve got a good game-plan ahead of the game, so hopefully we stick to that and can get a good win out there. 

“I missed the win earlier in the season through injury, but it was a good win. Hopefully we can take that performance, and the analysis from that game, and bring it into this one.”


It’s been a whirlwind 12 months for Cabango, who has grown from strength-to-strength in the blue and black jersey.

However, he insists there’s plenty of hard work ahead as he looks to continue his development at his home club.

“The Toulouse game definitely still stands out for me. I never thought I’d be playing, but a few of the boys had a feeling I’d be starting, although I tried putting that off,” added the academy product.

“But it was amazing to get the call-up for that, and then also the Stormers game away, which was nice to make my debut in the league. So those two are up there for me personally.

“When you get the crowd behind us, you can definitely see a difference in our performance. Like the Stormers game this season, the crowd were amazing and the boys were fired up, and you saw that in how we celebrated as well.

“It’s definitely my favourite place to play where I’ve played in so far.

“But I’m just looking forward to Boxing Day and the other derbies now. It’s been a surreal start to the season, and across two seasons really, but I’m really enjoying it.

“I’m slowly progressing, which is good. The coaches are pleased with what I’m doing, but there’s always little stuff I can improve on. As a young player that’s going to happen, but as long as you keep going forward positively, it’s good.

“I’ve got a good group of boys around me as well to help me in training, and I’m really pleased with where I am, what I’m doing and my performances so far.

“Hopefully the team can get a good performance against Dragons now on Boxing Day.”

Tickets for Cardiff’s Arms Park derbies against Ospreys (3pm on New Year’s Day) and Scarlets (January 7, 5.15pm) are available now but selling fast. To secure your tickets click here.