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Just who is Cadeyrn Neville?

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Cadeyrn Neville. Photo via:

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    Good question. He’s a big unit, all 202cm of him (a tick under 6ft 8), stopping the scales at 120kgs. And he’s 23. But Neville has made a meteoric rugby rise in just two years, after a representative rowing career with the Australian Institute of Sport.

    Rarely does a forward take off like that.

    Most have been playing rugby ever since they were out of nappies. What Neville has achieved in two short years is extraordinary.

    Born and bred in Manly, Neville had to play with the Marlins when he made the switch. That goes without saying.

    Last night, Neville made his Super Rugby debut with the Melbourne Rebels against the Bulls at AAMI Park. And it was memorable.

    Not only did Neville more than hold his own against a powerhouse pack led by Springbok Pierre Spies, but the Rebels went within a whisker of causing the biggest boilover of the season before going down 41-35 to a far more experienced lineup, giving the 12,112 crowd plenty to cheer about when nobody expected the two-wins this season Rebels to match it with the two-loss Bulls.

    There’s no such thing as a good loser, but the Rebels played out of their skins in arguably the franchise’s best performance since they were admitted last season.

    And Neville was right in the thick of it.

    It was not only Neville’s debut, but also Andrew Lees’ as a Super referee.

    No meteoric rise for the Australian who cut his teeth as a whistler in Sydney’s Shute Shield and the IRB’s Sevens circuit. It’s been a tough grind to be recognised by his territorial peers, but he’s at last broken through the barrier.

    Like Neville, Lees’ first up appearance was memorable.

    Memorable also for Mark Gerrard’s 100th Super cap through a combination of Waratahs (2 caps), Brumbies (77), and 21 with the Rebels. He’s been a great servant of the game and will continue to be just that.

    And a welcome back to Stirling Mortlock from the Rebels bench for his 139th cap.

    The former Wallaby skipper injured a calf muscle so severely pre-season he wasn’t even able to train for long periods.

    But last night, Mortlock showed he’d lost none of his old skills. He’s probably a metre or two slower around the park, but he has football brains to burn, and a perfectly timed pass to Mitch Inman late in the game produced Cooper Vuna’s second try.


    There were plenty of them with five apiece, and perfect goal-kicking from both sides – Morne Steyn’s 7 from 7 for the Bulls, and Kurtley Beale’s 5 from 5 for the Rebels.

    In fact, the entire 80 minutes produced a lot of cracking rugby, none better than Beale swapping his 15 jersey for 10.

    He’s the best fullback in the country, and judging by last night, without doubt the best fly-half, especially as incumbent Quade Cooper and stand-by James O’Connor are on the long-term injured list.

    Beale has an uncanny knack of sighting an opening that doesn’t appear to be there, and he’s gone. As team-mates in the 1980s used to say, “trail Mark Ella”, the same can be said of Beale three decades later.

    It’s a special gift reserved for few.

    As brilliantly as Beale played last night, as expected, precious few would have expected Cadeyrn Neville to play so well for one very good reason: the vast majority of rugby fans had never heard of him.

    They have now.

    Cadeyrn Neville photo via:

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (44)

    • May 5th 2012 @ 2:00am
      Johnno said | May 5th 2012 @ 2:00am | ! Report

      KB reminds me of one of those 5/8 utilities or halves , Phil Blake the force head caretaker coach was the same.
      When nothing is doing they are great at filling in or as an impact off the bench, but you can’t build a team around these type of players. Maybe in tournament rugby, or 1 off matche.
      But in long grinding regular season rugby union teams work these type of players out as they don’t have the fundamentals and core stuff down pat enough. Sairel pretorius is another one an impact player or a stop gap player. Cipriani was the Same JOC as a 5/8 is the same. Also in gridning tough defence, and core based technical rugby union like Lions series or World Cup finals stages KB types at 5/8 never win world cups, and Lions Series

      It is the Joel stransky types, Andrew Merthens, Rob Andrews Frans Steyn’s, Morne Steyns dan carters ,wlikinsons, butch james, larkhams, darren Lockeyars, jonathon thrustons, laurie daleys, Brad fitlers,. Not the Anthony Mundines or Kurtley Beales, or Todd Carney’s, Phil Blake or James Hook or Gavin Henson’s of this World.

      Real 5/8’s or halves are Dan Carter, Andrew Merthens,Johnny WIlkinson, steve Donald, steve Larkham, darren lockeyar, JT, andrew johns, ricky stuart,
      morne steyn, butch james was in his prime, Craig Gower, Craig wing was good, cameron smith as hooker or in halves and same with budders.

      Players like KB as a 5/8, phil blake in his career, Mike Harris wes patten, Quade Cooper serial pretorius, Andy Ellis, are just fresh energy impact or fill in player players but you cant build a team around them long term.
      And KB falls into that category, as does Cipriani or JOC as a 5/8.

      Trust me wallabies will be in big trouble if KB is the 5/8 for the Lions or at the 2015 world cup finals stages.

      But this Cadeym Neville he is the type of forward you build winning teams around like John Eales, Kierean reid, Geroge Smith, Phil Waugh Richie Mcaw,Jerome Kaino, dan vickerman, matfield Bakkies Botha, simon shaw., and Burger.

      Men Like Timani senior, TPN, Rodney Blake, Beau Robinson, radike Samo, are not the type of forwards you build Lions series or world cup finals stages teams around. High impact but not the core of the team where as a player like neville is a core type of forwad and rugby union player.

    • May 5th 2012 @ 2:13am
      Ben S said | May 5th 2012 @ 2:13am | ! Report

      I’m not saying anything negative about Neville, as I missed the game, and have never seen him play, but the Australian media always seems to trot out articles about new big men. The other year it was Hendrik Roodt, then Kane Douglas, then Vickerman was back, and now Neville. Fair play to the lad, but can we at least have a proper article about him.

      • Columnist

        May 5th 2012 @ 4:10am
        David Lord said | May 5th 2012 @ 4:10am | ! Report

        Ben, what’s improper about saluting a 23-year-old in only his third year in rugby after a rowing career, to make his Super Rugby debut. Are you a nark? No mention was made as to how far he’ll go, it was just up to last night. Totally proper, and fact, and a phenomenal achievement.

        • May 5th 2012 @ 5:00am
          The Other White Wendell said | May 5th 2012 @ 5:00am | ! Report

          they like to lay into you around here David. makes em feel good.

          • Columnist

            May 5th 2012 @ 12:42pm
            Elisha Pearce said | May 5th 2012 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

            Lordy, I was going to say that this is one of the better columns you’ve put up in a while. Nothing wrong with saluting his rise to Super Rugby. I didn’t see any outsided predictions of future success either.
            I also see your ponit Ben S. You are sick of the ‘next big thing’ not working out. That has been a problem for a while. I don’t think Lordy said he was going to single handedly add anything worldbeating to the Australian rugby landscape though.

        • May 5th 2012 @ 9:34pm
          Ben S said | May 5th 2012 @ 9:34pm | ! Report

          I simply stated I felt the chap Neville deserved better than what we see.

      • Roar Guru

        May 5th 2012 @ 5:05am
        Jiggles said | May 5th 2012 @ 5:05am | ! Report

        You forgot to add in the Timani fanfare Ben. Its nauseating at times.

        I thought he played ok despite dropping a few balls, but not well enough to dedicate an entire article too.

        • Columnist

          May 5th 2012 @ 5:30am
          David Lord said | May 5th 2012 @ 5:30am | ! Report

          Jiggles, there are 23 pars in the above post, 10 on Neville. Entire?

      • Roar Guru

        May 5th 2012 @ 9:59am
        Atawhai Drive said | May 5th 2012 @ 9:59am | ! Report

        Ah yes, Hendrik Roodt, who almost inevitably was nicknamed “Dud”. I think he’s back in South Africa now.

        On the subject of new players, is it the case that a couple of West Australian locals have stepped up to the Super ranks? Any information on them would be gratefully received.

        • May 6th 2012 @ 7:42pm
          The Bone said | May 6th 2012 @ 7:42pm | ! Report

          EWF have taken their own local giant on their tour of SA. Where is the article on 125kg lock Jake Ball?

    • May 5th 2012 @ 2:59am
      Geoff Brisbane now California said | May 5th 2012 @ 2:59am | ! Report

      Maybe he’s the new Quade Cooper of the forward pack, long way to go yet.

      • May 5th 2012 @ 6:07am
        Damo said | May 5th 2012 @ 6:07am | ! Report

        And here we have one of the professional rain makers turning up to Lordies parade for a young man’s remarkable achievement.
        Fair Dinkum Geoff, how does your brand of ‘positivity’ go down in California?

    • May 5th 2012 @ 5:32am
      The Great G Nepia said | May 5th 2012 @ 5:32am | ! Report

      He’s certainly got the physical attributes. Mentally and aerobically too he’ll be tough from his rowing.

    • May 5th 2012 @ 6:01am
      Demers said | May 5th 2012 @ 6:01am | ! Report

      David, a good article, but you got his stats wrong. 202 cm is not six ft eight it’s five ft eight. He’s too short to play second row.

      • May 5th 2012 @ 6:12am
        Damo said | May 5th 2012 @ 6:12am | ! Report

        Demers, if long is actually short and fat is actually thin, is not thin actually thick?

      • Roar Guru

        May 5th 2012 @ 7:21am
        Atawhai Drive said | May 5th 2012 @ 7:21am | ! Report

        Demers, we all struggled a bit with metric conversions at first. Clearly, you’re still struggling badly.

        For the record, 202cm is 6.73ft _ just a tick under 6ft 8in, as David said.

      • May 5th 2012 @ 7:50am
        kiwidave said | May 5th 2012 @ 7:50am | ! Report

        If he’s five eight then I’m shorter than Angus Young. Hehehe…

        • May 5th 2012 @ 7:05pm
          Mitch in Valencia said | May 5th 2012 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

          Wait a minute, is he playing five eight? I thought he was a second rower…!

    • May 5th 2012 @ 6:13am
      kingplaymaker said | May 5th 2012 @ 6:13am | ! Report

      David a very good article and nice to know about any new young talent as well as someone with such a remarkable story as this, and ignore any childish criticism from those who don’t write any good articles themselves: people who go online to discuss rugby instead of simply attack others appreciate good, insightful articles like this.

      • Columnist

        May 5th 2012 @ 6:31am
        David Lord said | May 5th 2012 @ 6:31am | ! Report

        KPM, just looked up the derivation of the unusual name Cadeyrrn. It’s Welsh, and means “battle king” – his parents must have known something.

        • May 5th 2012 @ 7:04am
          kingplaymaker said | May 5th 2012 @ 7:04am | ! Report

          David it looked like it, and if he’s been playing such a short time he’ll probably be able to improve much further than others at the same stage-great to see new players coming through and from new sources.

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