Evans sent man of Cardiff

Owen Slot talks to Terry Holmes about his new life in a legend's shadow

WHEN Cardiff run out at Lansdowne Road to play Leinster on Saturday in the first ever Heineken European Cup semi-final, it is not just the fixture that will be breaking new ground. In the crowd will sit Terry Holmes, the former Wales scrum-half, who will be reaching another landmark: his first full official week as their coach.

The announcement that Holmes was to take charge of the club where he won his 26 caps was a muted one. No one at the small press conference was the slightest bit surprised, for even though Holmes had already been coaching Cardiff for the two weeks since Alex Evans, his predecessor, had departed, it seemed that he had been groomed for the job for over three years.

When Evans arrived in 1992, his intention was to build a structure at Cardiff that would outlast him and one of his first moves was to employ Holmes as his assistant. "Alex did a fantastic job," Holmes said, "and for me it was just like being on an extended coaching course."

Holmes's apprenticeship has been wound down in the last two months following the news that Evans was to leave and as the departure date approached, Evans shrunk into the background and pushed the younger man forward. The players should hardly have noticed the change, Holmes insists, acknowledging that it is an impressive act he has to emulate: "I followed Gareth Edwards into the Wales team, so I've followed legends before."

Holmes, of course, became something of a legend himself, a point not lost on his charges, said Jonathan Humphries, the Welsh captain and Cardiff hooker: "Most of us watched him when we grew up - personally, I was of the opinion that he carried the rest of the team. He was our hero. We don't tell him that, but there's no doubt that when he talks, we listen."

The changes under Holmes should therefore be minimal. He preaches a similar game to Evans and, also in his predecessor's style, he refrains from sending his players into the fray with a set plan, believing that they will improve if they learn to think victory through for themselves. Where Cardiff might be a different place, though, is in team selection: Evans used a rota system and was criticised for defeats incurred when the strongest XV was perhaps not fielded. Holmes, instead, intends to increase the competitive spirit by making his players fight for the 15 positions.

Not that any extra incentive will be needed on Saturday. "A lot of people have been putting Welsh rugby down, saying it's rotten right through," Humphries said. "This is a chance to show that's not the case." Cardiff qualified by way of a draw with Begles and a win over Ulster, games which were "a breath of fresh air" says Humphries.

"In Wales, the clubs know each other so well, it's become easy to stop each other playing," he said. "But the new competition has been brilliant so far; everybody has noticed the difference, I don't think it's a coincidence that the best rugby we have played this season has been in those games. I just hope it will be the same against Leinster."

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments