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THE ENFORCER; Dai hard with a vengeance.

The hardest man in Welsh rugby will be on Wallaby patrol today - ready to dish the hurt on any Australian caught trying to bushwhack a Welshman.

David Young has only been back in the union code for three months but already the former Salford RL prop carries a health warning.

Mess with this man at your peril is the message to any opposition forward who fancies Young by name means naive by nature.

He may have been away from international rugby union for six years, but the 29-year-old tight-head prop has proved in just six games for Cardiff since recovering from an ankle injury that he may be the minder the Welsh pack has been looking for.

Wales skipper Jonathan Humphreys, Young's front row pal at Cardiff, says: "Dai has become known as The Enforcer.

"He's a real gentleman off the pitch but when he crosses that white line, he's as mean as they come. When things get hot, he's straight in there to sort it out."

Young's first big test back in the 15-a-side code was in the Heineken European Cup against Wasps who included new England powerhouse Chris Sheasby.

The England No 8 kept creeping offside at the scrums until Young decided to help him tuck his head back where it belonged.

Humphreys recalls: "One of the Wasps players was putting himself about so Dai gave him the message. The hint was taken.

"For some reason in Wales in recent years that sort of player has become rare. Perhaps it was the parochial nature of everybody playing only against each other.

"Dai has captained his country at rugby league, a sport where you have to be able to look after yourself.

"He's a hard player, but he's fair. If something is going on that needs sorting, then he's on to it in a flash. He stands up to be counted and opponents know that if they take any liberties they will have Dai to deal with."

Already, another member of the Welsh pack has 6ft 1in Young - all 17st 12lb of him - to thank for being his guardian angel.

Derwyn Jones may be 6ft 10in and almost 19st but when the giant Cardiff lock was the target of a mass brawl started by the Toulouse forwards, it was Young who rode to the rescue.

Says Jones: "At the first line-out all hell broke loose. The French like their cheap shots and all of a sudden it was like Custer's last stand.

"Dai turned to me and said it was time to circle the wagons.

"The French were intent on getting away with anything they could and their hooker was so hyped up his eyes were bulging out of his head.

"There was a time when Cardiff could have been intimidated by that sort of situation, but Dai is not slow in coming forward."
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Williams, David
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 1, 1996
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