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Any player pulling on the Cardiff jersey will do us proud - Young

First Team News | 26th January 2023

Dai Young has full confidence that any player who represents Cardiff Rugby will do the jersey proud, as his side prepare for Saturday’s trip to Leinster with more than 20 players unavailable for selection.

While a mixture of injuries and international call-ups sees a number of players ruled out of the trip to the RDS Arena, Young is happy with the squad at his disposal.

However, the director of rugby is fully aware that his side must be at their best to topple the unbeaten Dubliners and repeat last season’s thrilling win at the Arms Park.

“Rey is back in the mix after his concussion and Corey Domachowski is also back after a shoulder injury,” said the former Wales international prop.

“We’ve still got a decent team out, despite having a lot of injuries, with around 20 in total that’s unavailable to us.

“But whoever puts that jersey on is going to go and do a job for us. I’m confident in the team that’s going out there and there’s no reason why we can’t do the job.

“We know the challenge that’s in front of us, and Leinster haven’t lost all season. So we need to get everything right but there’s no reason why we can’t go out there and win.

“We beat them here last year and I think we’ve got a blueprint. You certainly can’t sit back and see what they’ve got, because they’ve got a lot. You’ve got to make sure that you get your game going.

“Make no bones about it, we’re going to have to be at least nine out of ten to go and get the result. But we’ve done it before.”

This weekend marks the one year anniversary since Jarrod Evans’ dramatic penalty secured Cardiff’s win over Leinster at the Arms Park.

While the Irish province have maintained a 100 per cent record in all competitions this season, Young believes the Blue and Blacks’ performance last year should be a blueprint ahead of Saturday’s fixture in Dublin: “It’s an exciting challenge to go there and play against a team who haven’t lost, and even without their internationals they’ve got a real strong squad.

“They don’t lose many games on the road or at home, so we know we’re up against it. But we’ve looked at how we beat them last year, and we’ve looked at hames that they’ve played and they’ve been put under pressure.

“They’re a quality team with not too many weaknesses but we’re going to have to play at our best and that’s a challenge we’re looking forward to.

“You’ve got to take the game to them, you’ve got to really try and nullify them at the set piece so they don’t get that platform.

“You want to attack them at the contact area so they’re not playing off quick ball. If they start playing off quick ball, and start winning that gain line, they become impossible to stop.

“You’ve got to play the game in the right areas. When we played them last time, we had lots of little chips over, lots of crossfield kicks and we’ve got to mix it up a bit.

“We need to have a little bit of fortune as well when you’re playing a quality team like that. You need the odd bounce of the ball going your way.”

Young also believes the lessons learnt from last week’s defeat in Brive will be crucial for Cardiff on their trip to the Irish capital: “It’s a big challenge but we’ve got to go there and play some rugby. If you look back to Brive last week, that was the disappointing factor for me. 

“For the first 25 minutes, we didn’t respect the ball, didn’t hold onto the ball and pretty much ended up defending for 25 minutes, which forces us to overplay whenever we get the ball.

“So we need to be accurate to start off with and we need to fire some shots of our own. We need to be at our best, without a shadow of a doubt.

“We were very loose in those first 25 minutes and lost the ball four times on the first phase, which just gives the ball back to them. So we never really mounted anything.

“Spending most of the first half defending is energy sapping in itself, and when we did get the ball back we had a lot of ball in the grey zone and tried to overplay from there.

“But for the first 20 minutes of the second half we played really well. We started to play the conditions well, played for field position, we broke the game a bit more and started to play off quick ball and get our noses in front.

“But for some reason we ended up trying to over-play again from deep, which was a bit annoying. 

“But we’ve spoken about that. The important thing if you go to Leinster is that you start well. Otherwise, if they get their noses in front, not many teams turn that around.”