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Welsh international feared his playing days could be over

13 Dec 2022 4 minute read
Kristian Dacey of Cardiff Rugby. Photo ©INPHO/Ashley Crowden

Simon Thomas

There were times when Kristian Dacey feared his playing career may be over. The Welsh international hooker admits he found himself in some dark places amid a catalogue of injuries.

But, with the help of his family, he soldiered on and is now so glad he did.

He has put his fitness issues behind him and has been a regular presence in the Cardiff Rugby team so far this season. He’s also added to his impressive try collection, with four touchdowns – two in the BKT United Rugby Championship and a brace in Saturday’s 41-0 demolition of Brive in the EPCR Challenge Cup.

“I am feeling good now. There’s been no secret the injuries I have had in the past couple of years and there were times I thought it may be coming to an end,” he said.

“I broke my foot and had a screw put in there. I dislocated my shoulder and had an op on that. I kept tearing my calf which came from a bulging disc in my back. So there’s been numerous over the last few years.

“There were times where it got really hard. Luckily, I had the backing of my family and especially my wife to really roll up my sleeves and go. I am glad I did.

“It’s a big decision to finish. It’s massive. I suppose lots of players have been in the same boat. It’s not easy, it’s a dark place to be when you are injured and out.

“But pre-season went really well and luckily I have had a run of games and I’m feeling really good out there. I’d like to play for as long as I can and hopefully I can keep contributing to the team. I’m still here, I’m fit and raring to go.”


Dacey’s double against Brive took his career haul of tries for Cardiff up to 33, with both of his latest efforts having come off lineout drives.

“It’s nice to add to the tally. A hooker has always got a decent chance in a rolling maul. It’s nice to get on the back of it, but all the hard work is done by everyone else really before I even touch the ball. You just fall over the line!” he said.

“It’s something we’ve really put into our game over the last few weeks, especially out in South Africa. We want to be a confrontational pack and our drives are something we’ve really been working on.”

Merthyr product Dacey, a converted flanker who won eight Wales caps between 2015 and 2017, has been with Cardiff for 12 years now and is closing in on 200 appearances.

He says there is a great spirit in the camp at the minute, with the emphatic victory over Brive having been the sixth so far this season in all competitions.

“It was good. Some parts were better than others, but 41-0 is not to be sniffed at,” said the 33-year-old.

“It was the last game at home before Christmas and we wanted to repay the fans that came out with a win. We went out and did it in style. We are happy that we got the result and kept them to nil.

“It’s something we’ve done twice in the last three games. It really shows where we are as a team. The boys are really digging in and fighting for each other. The camaraderie in the changing room is massive and hopefully that’s something that will bring us results as we go forward.”

Welsh derbies

Next up for Cardiff is their second Challenge Cup group match away to Newcastle, followed by three successive BKT URC Welsh derbies versus Dragons RFC, the Ospreys and the Scarlets.

“It’s a make or break period for us,” said Dacey. “It’s about building on the performance against Brive now.

“We know it’s going to be a different story next week up in Newcastle. Hopefully we’ll come out the right side. It’s all about us rocking up and really going hard there.

“If we back it up next week, we will be in a real good place come the derbies and very confident as a group of players. It’s about trying to keep the momentum going.”

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