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Cardiff must rise to the challenge on the High Veldt - Thomas Young

1st December 2022

Thomas Young insists Cardiff must rise to the challenge on the High Veldt as they take on Vodacom Bulls in the BKT United Rugby Championship on Saturday (18:00).

The Blue and Blacks take on the Pretoria-based outfit at 1,350m altitude at the iconic Loftus Versfeld on the back of a bonus-point victory over Cell C Sharks in Durban.

Young played an instrumental role at Kings Park, creating the opportunity and subsequent pressure for the opening penalty try, claiming a personal brace and they making significant yards in the build up to Ben Thomas’ bonus-point score. 

The open side flanker was delighted to secure a maximum five-points at sea level and he has called on his side to add even more to their tally on the high veld. 

He said: “We were very pleased with the result. We knew coming out here what the challenge would be and we spoke all week about trying to impose ourselves on them. 

“Lloyd and Jarrod controlled the game really well and then for the pack, it was up to us to front up and I thought we did that. 

“A few decisions went our way and with the conditions having a nine and 10 control the game helped. We forced them into mistakes they maybe wouldn’t normally make. 

“Keeping them out at the end is something the boys are rally proud of doing. All week we’ve spoken about backing it up, being consistent in everything we do and while it was a very good result, which we are proud of, we have to back it up 

“It’s going to be another physical challenge for us. We’re expecting the weather to be dry, it’s at altitude so that’s something different we have to adjust to and that’s the challenge we have step up to.”

Reflecting on his own performance, Young continued: “Fortunately some things came off but it was more a team performance. The front five stood up, and  nine, 10 and Benny Thomas at the back were controlling the game, they put us in the right positions to show what we have been practicing these last few weeks.

“It was probably more of instinct than anything else (the penalty try) and I’m a bit annoyed that I didn’t finish it, having seen it back. I was quite a bit in front of some of them! 

“I knew I hadn’t touched it but I felt right away that he had slapped it dead. You have to be careful what you say to the ref but in fairness he handled it well and thankfully we got the seven points. 

“I’ve had a good run of games. I knew when I was coming back to the club that I would have to show what I could do again. With the run of games, I’ve done alright, there are still things I can improve on but I’m pretty happy.”

A theme in last weekend’s victory was Cardiff’s dominance at the breakdown with Young joined by the likes of James Botham, Liam Belcher and Jason Harries in securing turnovers or penalties at key moments.

Cardiff are currently top of the URC turnover table, with Botham and Young the top two in the individual log and the xx year-old believes training is paying dividends. 

He added: “A  lot of work goes into it during the week. Richard Hodges, Duane Goodfield and TR, there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes for us to go out on the pitch and know what we’re doing. 

“We put quite a lot of emphasis on it during the week, no matter who we are playing. It’s something we pride ourselves on and work really hard at. Sometimes it’s a bit touch and go whether we get them or not but we like trying to be aggressive in that area because we need to get the ball back.”