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Sherratt outlines club vision for the future

First Team News | 28th February 2024

As Cardiff continue into the second half of the season and plans for 2024-25 accelerate, Matt Sherratt has provided an update on his plans and progress at the Arms Park.

The former Bristol, Worcester and Ospreys backs coach took the helm last summer during a period of uncertainty and financial challenges.

As Sherratt outlines, the current campaign has always been around showing fight and stabilising the foundations of the club and with new ownership confirmed, planning for a bright future at the club is continuing at pace.

Since Helford Capital have come on board Cardiff have tied down some of their brightest young talent - the likes of Cam Winnett, Alex Mann, Mackenzie Martin and Evan Lloyd to new contracts - they have signed Callum Sheedy and brought Steffan Emanuel and Tom Bowen back to the club, Corniel van Zyl will join as forwards coach, Gethin Jenkins will go full-time as defence coach and new training facilities will be established at the Arms Park. 

And more is in the pipe-line…

When quizzed by journalists this week, Sherratt claimed the club has never been in a better place off the pitch. The former backs coach is just one of numerous staff members, across all elements of the business, who have gone above and beyond through challenging times but he is now hugely optimistic about the future. 

He said: "I won't talk about the other regions but I can talk about our region. If I'm honest, I completely agree with building the foundations of the region and ironically I think I was sat here on the 1st of July, that's what we've said all season. 

“Our mantra all season isn’t about winning on the pitch, we want to win on the pitch but our priority is winning off the pitch. 

“All I've spoken about all season, I delivered it to the board, was we need to get our facilities better, our key staff better and our academy better and then we can add to our squad. 

“We have announced that we're going to stay at the Arms Park to stop our players having to travel between two sites and long term we're going to develop the Arms Park. 

“We've already met with people in terms of supplying the gym and making our facilities. They're not going to be gold standard, but they're going to be much better next season than they are this season. 

“We’ve announced Corniel Van Zyl as a forwards coach and he’s worked at the top end of the game, top end of the Prem, Super Rugby, loads of experience. He's going to make Teddy Williams, Alex Mann, Mackenzie Martin way better players because he's got a vast amount of experience coaching top end players. 


“There’s going to be a head of recruitment coming in. We announced Gethin Jenkins yesterday signed two years to become full-time next year. 

“This year was about fighting. Next year is about growing. Our staff is going to get better, our facilities are going to get better, our academy has got more staff.

“You saw actually as well, Steffan Emanuel is coming back, a great young player, Tom Bowen's coming back. So the roots and the foundations of this club are getting much better.

Have we got the best facilities and the right amount of staff? No, we haven’t but we're doing everything we possibly can with our new owners to put that right. 

“We're not going to go from where we are to challenging for titles, but all we need to see is a progression and we have to win off the pitch first. 

“So like Gats (Warren Gatland) talked about, facility, staff, that's where we win first and then eventually it will start to show on the field. And I’ve got to say the new owners, everything that we've asked for in terms of staff and facility, they care about the club, they've delivered on it. 

“There's not been one thing that we've asked for to make this place a better club, at the foundations of it, that they've not agreed to. The club's never been in a better place off the field.”

While the club have already confirmed the signing of Sheedy for next season, the first priority has been securing existing young talent.

That has largely been successful, while the likes of Emanuel and Bowen, who were previously part of the pathway before moving to England for educational opportunities, also returning.

Attention is now turning to phase two, which is around adding experience to complement and help develop young talent.

Sherratt added: “We’ve done a little bit of recruitment, more about keeping our youngsters. That's been the priority, so obviously the four boys in Welsh Camp are good examples. They've all either extended, Alex Mann and Cam, were actually in contract next season, but we've extended their contracts. Mackenzie's done the same, Evan Lloyd's done the same, so at the moment it's a case of right, let's make sure we're not losing the core of the next five, six, seven, eight years of Cardiff, and then we'll try and add some quality around that. 



“The first part of the recruitment has been, let's keep what we've got and we're now looking at just adding some experience around there. 

"The article in the press was about look at the Irish clubs, but if you look at the Irish clubs, they do back their youngsters, but look at Ulster with Kitschoff, Vermeulen, Pienaar a couple of years ago, De Allande at Munster, Leinster, I know they're Irish qualified now, but Gibson Park, James Lowe, Scott Fardy, Connacht with Bundi Aki, Mack Hanson.

“I’ve seen it first hand. Jarrod Evans playing with Gareth Anscombe here, improved his development massively. Rey Lee-Lo being one in off the edge to Mason Grady. Ask Mason, it makes a huge difference for him.

“It's not about checking a load of young Welsh kids out there, you've got to put some experience around them and probably going back to our staff. 

“That's why I wanted Corniel to come in because he's been sat in dressing rooms in Super Rugby, top of the Premiership. He's going to add value to our staff and the players.”