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Getting to Know - Immanuel Feyi-Waboso

First Team News | 30th April 2021

The Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup opener against Ospreys gave director of rugby Dai Young the opportunity to hand a number of squad members some valuable, competitive minutes on the pitch. 

Youngsters such as Max Llewellyn, Gwilym Bradley and Alun Lawrence showed plenty of promise in the encounter, while the likes of Owen Lane, Ben Thomas and James Ratti were all tested in unfamiliar positions on the senior stage.

However, the second half at Liberty Stadium also saw two exciting, young talents coming off the bench to make their debut for the capital city club.

One of those was academy graduate, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, who admits it was a ‘dream come true’ to step out in his hometown colours.

The fomer Corpus Christi High School pupil signed his first professional deal with the club back in December and has been juggling his rugby commitments with his school studies at Bristol’s Clifton College.

The utility back, who replaced Hallam Amos, recalls his memories of a special personal afternoon in Swansea: “It was literally like a dream come true, because I’ve been with Cardiff since I was 10 years old, and I’ve followed the pathway the whole time.

“Even though I’ve gone to study at Clifton College, I’ve carried on with Cardiff and it’s been the best decision I’ve made because it led to my debut the other day, which was nice.

“I was doing my warm-up with Fents [Alex Fenton, strength and conditioning coach], and everyone else on the bench had gone on. 

“So I knew there was maybe a chance to get on, but when I got the call up, it was overwhelming with nerves but mainly excitement.

“Before the game, I was speaking to boys like Olly Robinson, Max Llewellyn and Teddy Williams, and they were all saying that it’s so exciting. So they got me in that mood and the nerves went a bit.

“I was so excited and had an adrenaline rush and it was really good.

“We knew what we had to do coming into it and everyone stayed focused on that. When you’re in this environment, everyone stays focused on the task at hand, and that’s playing for the team.

“Everyone is on the same wavelength in that sense. On the weekend, there were a couple of mix and match with players who might not always play with each other but we all had that one goal.

“The result was unfortunate but I’m just happy to be part of the team and do my job.”

Born to Nigerian parents, Feyi-Waboso grew up as one of six siblings in Llandaff, and kicked off his club rugby journey with Rumney RFC, while also being heavily involved in athletics, participating in a number of events but specialising in hurdles and high jump.

He also represented Cardiff Schools at under-11 and under-15 level before progressing further in the Cardiff Blues pathway with the age grade sides and academy.

Last summer, as a 17 year old, he was called in to train alongside the senior side for the first time, and he’s been over the moon with the way he’s been welcomed into the environment. 

“My parents have been strong supporters of me this whole time, and it’s nice to see the times they’ve taken me back and forth to rugby, and the times they’ve made sacrifices, that it’s come to this,” explains the 18 year old.

“They ended up watching it on S4C afterwards as well, even thought they don’t understand Welsh, but they were still able to watch the game and enjoyed it.

“Coming into the senior programme was a huge step up. The main thing I realised was how supremely focused everyone is in training.

“They’ve all got one goal, whether you’re in the team, on the bench or a reserve. Everyone has the same goal, and that’s to win. 

“There’s a team ethos that I’ve found with the seniors which is amazing. Obviously you have that in age grade rugby as well, but it’s amplified with the seniors.

“I fit in nicely in there with help from boys like Max, Teddy, Mason Grady and the other youngsters. But Olly Robinson has also been so helpful and nice and Lewis Jones is a joker and really funny around the place.

“Aled Summerhill has also been really good with me in terms of teaching me the roles on the wing and that’s been really nice.

“The reason why I love rugby so much is that it’s a constant challenge and you’re constantly learning, whether that’s from coaches or your peers playing with you. 

“You’re always learning and there’s always new challenges. So when I come back to Cardiff and get put into training with the seniors, it was daunting at first. But when you have such amazing people around you, they make it so much easier and give you the tools to take on the challenge.”


Heading into his final year at Clifton College, under the tutelage of former Bristol captain Matt Salter, Feyi-Waboso is excited for what lies ahead.

And while he refuses to rest on his laurels, with determination to continue his development both on and off the field, he’s been incredibly grateful for the support he’s received to date.

“One thing I really liked was having Gruff Rees as academy manager. He’s been unrealistically helpful for me,” adds the age grade international.

“I told him that rugby was my passion but that I also wanted to focus on my studies and medicine is really important to me.

“He totally understood that and he’s been an immense help. I’d like to think that I’ve shown that it can be done.

“It’s nice to know that people can be kept in Cardiff rather than losing players to England.

“Being part of this pathway, and seeing the youngsters getting their opportunities at first team level, sets you a realistic goal. When I was playing for Cardiff Schools under 11, I’d set myself the goal of becoming a professional rugby player.

“You will always get doubters who say you can’t do that, but the pathway was so perfectly made.

“I managed to follow the pathway as you’re supposed to and ended up in the senior team. 

“The pathway creates a goal that you can aim for and you never really lose sight of that because it’s always so close.

“I know I have a lot of development left, and a lot of things to work on, but with the help of senior coaches that should be made a lot easier.

“Hopefully I can make the most of my opportunities, and if I play or not I’m just happy to be part of this team and I want to continue to work for the same goals as my team-mates.”