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England lock Josh McNally makes URC switch

By Josh Raisey
Josh McNally (Photo by Alex Davidson/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Cardiff have announced the signing of former England lock Josh McNally ahead of next season.

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Bath announced in May that the 33-year-old would be departing at the end of the season after five years at the Rec, following a season where his game time was limited.

The former RAF technician is not the only player making the trip over the River Severn this summer, as Bristol Bears duo Dan Thomas and Callum Sheedy are also moving to the Welsh capital.

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McNally enjoyed a successful half-decade in the West Country, earning his sole England cap in that time against the USA in 2021.

The United Rugby Championship have been busy recruiting ahead of next season, which is something that attracted the 6ft 7in forward to the club.

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“I’m really thankful for the opportunity to join Cardiff, and can’t wait to get involved,” McNally said after signing.

“Cardiff has such a great history, and a city that is fully behind the club.

“Having spent part of my career at London Welsh, and all my wife’s family originating in Wales, I have always been in awe of the passion for rugby in Wales, and I can’t wait to immerse myself in the capital.

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“After talking with Jockey, and Corniel, the opportunity immediately excited me. The brand of rugby Cardiff are starting to play, and the squad being assembled, is something I can’t wait to contribute to.

“I would like to thank the Royal Air Force, for allowing me the opportunity to come here. They have been full supportive my entire career, and I wouldn’t be here without them.”

Cardiff head coach Matt Sherratt added: “We are absolutely delighted to bring someone of Josh’s quality to the Arms Park both in terms of his playing ability and as a leader around our environment.

“With so many senior figures moving on or retiring in recent years, it was really important to bring in players with experience and leadership ability from top environments and I believe we have managed to do that.

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“Josh has been a key figure on and off the pitch during the past five seasons at Bath and his former coaches and teammates cannot speak highly enough of him.

“He is a big second-row, who brings a physical presence but he is also a good all-round athlete, is strong technically and a real lineout tactician. He will bring undoubted quality to us on the pitch and be an important figure in helping some of our younger players.”

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finn 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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