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Cook calls for improvement ahead of derby

30th April 2017

Macauley Cook is relishing Saturday's Guinness PRO12 finale against Newport Gwent Dragons but admits Cardiff Blues must improve if they are to finish the season on a high.

The Blues backed up their emphatic victory over the Ospreys with a home triumph over Zebre, in which they were frustrated for much of the second half.

They will draw a close to the regular season with a trip to face the Dragons, at the Constructaquote Stadium in Caerphilly, and Cook admits they will require no extra motivation.

He said: “We were disappointed with the second half, where we made a few mistakes, conceded a few penalties in the set piece and allowed them to gain a lot of field position.

“We can be happy with the first half, where we played some good rugby but there are certainly things we can work on going into next week.

“We can be proud of aspects from the performance, which shows how far we've come as a team because those are the type of games we've struggled to close out in the past, but we held out for the win, which was the most important thing about tonight.

“We wanted the bonus point but couldn't secure it, which was disappointing.

“Next week we have the derby, and all the boys are going to be motivated for that and will want to win that one. 

“The game is obviously up in Caerphilly, which will be a tough place to go, but we're looking forward and hoping to put in a performance to continue the momentum ahead of the play-off.

“I do think we're moving in the right direction, and that showed on Judgement Day, when everything came together and we played very good rugby for 60 minutes.”

The encounter is taking place in Caerphilly due to a fixture clash at Rodney Parade and Cook is acutely aware that it presents a unique challenge.

But he insists Wales’ Capital Region must concentrate on their own game to triumph.

He added: “We will prepare as usual, looking at the Dragons and what they will bring, but of course the conditions might be different to what a few boys are used to. 

“We're expecting a big crowd up there, and it's the type of stadium that feels like the supporters are on the field with you.

“We need to concentrate on ourselves and improve on what we've learned from tonight's game.

“It will be my first time playing at Caerphilly. We might need to adapt our game slightly to suit the situation and play what's in front of us. 

“We know what the Dragons will bring to the game - a physical side with a strong set piece.

“We'll have to match that, play our own game and throw the ball around a bit like we managed to do in the first half today.”