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Cardiff can take 'a lot of encouragement' from performance, says Sherratt

First Team News | 18th February 2024

Post match reaction | Head coach Matt Sherratt says Cardiff can take 'a lot of encouragement' from the performance against Connacht after his side narrowly fell to a 12-16 defeat in the BKT United Rugby Championship at Cardiff Arms Park.

Despite going down to 14-men after the red card of Rey Le-Loo in the 15th minute, the Blues and Blacks put in a spirited effort and even held a 12-6 lead heading into the break, before the visitors finally broke down the Cardiff defence in the second half. 

“I think probably when I wake up tomorrow, I'll be more a point gained rather than four points lost,” said Sherratt.

“Ultimately the facts are we've lost 12 players to Wales, we've got two back, we've got Toby Faletau missing, we've got Ellis Jenkins pulling out yesterday and we're playing a good Connacht team, who have got just two players away with Ireland.

“With all that, to go for 65 minutes with 14 men and get something I think we can take a lot of encouragement.

“I still thought we could have won the game with 14 if you think it's two tries to one.

“I thought probably in general we lost the kicking and catching battle in the second half. I think there was a series of three kicks where one goes out in the full, one's not a contest and we kind of put a bit of pressure on ourselves but in a game like this there's always going to be some mistakes.

“But it's a season where we've got the smallest squad we've ever had. We've got 12 in the Welsh squad, we've got a couple of injuries. We've got Connacht coming here pretty much fully loaded, bar two. We're down to 14 men after 15 minutes. A lot of teams have rolled over and taken 30 points there, but that's not this Cardiff team.

“I'd love us to do some quick learning, but go back to what I've said at the start of the season, it's not within two months you become experienced.

“We're going to take a bit of pain, it's not going to be short-term, but I think everyone can see with the number of boys we've got in the Welsh squad, we've got a good young crop here.

“If we keep that crop, if we keep learning and we put some quality around them, we'll be formidable, but it it’s not going to be quick.”

Cardiff went down to 13 men when Lopeti Timani was shown a yellow card for a high tackle, but Sherratt was quick to praise the number eight for his overall performance, as well as flanker Thomas Young who put in another standout performance.

“The players were under pressure, it's a scrum, he's chased the nine, he's reached out and obviously it wasn’t anything that was any danger, but it was a seatbelt tackle,” added Sherratt.

“By the letter of the law it's probably a yellow card but I think on the whole, Tamani was in credit in that game, he got over the ball a lot, he scored a try I think from close range.

“I thought Thomas Young was excellent as well into everything.”