Get to know Cardiff scrum-half Dane Blacker in this exclusive Q&A.
Hotshot: Cardiff Blues scrum-half Dane Blacker
Date of birth 6 July 1998 Born Pontypridd Cub Cardiff Blues Country Wales Position Scrum-half
How did you get involved in rugby?
I used to watch my cousins play at our local rugby club, Ynysybwl, and I started playing myself at about seven. My father played for the local team, too, so I’d go to watch him on a Saturday. My family got me into it and it’s always been rugby for me – it’s about playing with friends.
What positions have you played?
I started at outside-half but when I realised I wasn’t growing, I had to change to scrum-half when I was 13 or 14. It’s much better for me because I’m small.
When did you link up with Cardiff Blues?
I played for Blues U16 and have been there ever since. I do a lot with Lloyd Williams, and Richie Rees is there as well as an academy coach. He’s helped me out a lot.
What about Wales honours?
I got my first Wales U18 cap against South Africa and played U20s last year, in the Six Nations and at the World Cup in Georgia. That was a really good experience.
You played in the Singha Sevens at 18. How was that?
It was really good. I scored the winning try against the Dragons which meant we qualified (for the finals in 2016) and it was another good experience at senior level.
When I was 17, I also played for Pontypridd in the Premiership and I’m now in my second season with them. We’re in Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with the Blues and then have Premiership training on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and play on Saturdays.
And you’ve played in the Pro14…
Yes, I went on loan to the Dragons and actually made my debut for them. I played two games for them, against Ulster and Southern Kings in September, and then I came back to the Blues and was lucky enough to come off the bench against Glasgow.
What are your strengths?
Just playing fast, playing with tempo, sniping.
Who did you grow up admiring?
I used to watch Will Genia a lot and wanted to be like him. He plays fast too.
What are your goals for this year?
The big thing for me is to be involved at the Blues, and hopefully I’ll be involved in the World Cup with the U20s. I just want to play as much as I can.
RW Verdict: Blacker is doing a sports course as he recognises that rugby will “not last a lifetime”. He is currently out of action after cracking a bone in his back, so he’s missing the Six Nations but aims to be back for the Junior World Cup.
This article originally appeared in the March 2018 edition of Rugby World magazine.