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Dacey determined to get back to his best in 2022-23

First Team News | 5th August 2022

Kristian Dacey may be in the midsts of his 12th full pre-season at Cardiff but he is aiming to roll back the years to unleash his best form in 2022-23. 

The hooker has been frustrated by niggling injuries in recent years, set-backs which have made building consistency in both game-time and performance challenging. 

But back, feeling fresh and hungry, Dacey is determined to hit the ground running as the United Rugby Championship season kicks-off next month. 

He said: "This is the first time I've done a full pre-season for maybe 6 or 7 years. I've had a bad few years, bad luck with injuries and stuff, so this has been a real shock to the system more than anything but I've enjoyed it. 

“We’ve got some youngsters training with us now and they tend to up the pace even more. But to be honest, it's giving me that hunger again, to put myself forward and hopefully get back to where I’ve been in the past.  

“I haven't been able to put a consistent run of games together over the last couple years. There’s been my back, or I dislocated my finger, there's been numerous injuries but touch wood I'm feeling fit. 

“There’s good competition at hooker and who doesn't want competition?  There’s four or five of us here now and we’re really pushing each other, and when it comes to fitness, everyone wants to be number one. So it can only be a good thing and benefit us collectively.  

“For me, it’s just concentrating on myself now. I want to give something back, especially with the youngsters, get out there and put some performances in.” 

Dacey, who has now made 186 first team appearances and is the highest try-scoring forward of the regional era, is also fuelled by the collective disappointment of last season.

Following a promising start, Covid, quarantine and vast logistical challenges saw the Blue and Blacks endure huge disruption. It took a heavy toll and combined with a loss of form, the club finished 14th in the URC table. 

“I've been there 12 years now and at times last year it was a real struggle.  You look back to November really, where we had the COVID situation, South Africa and the season from there just never picked up.  Although we had the odd result, the consistency of our performance just wasn't there. 

“There's numerous factors, but at the end of the day we are the players on the field and it's about putting right what went wrong last year and it starts in pre-season. It's about getting the fundamentals in place, both things we want to bring to our game and things that  went wrong for us last year. 

“Block 2 is probably one of the most important blocks of pre-season in terms of setting those foundations and setting ourselves up for the season.” 

Cardiff kick-off their URC campaign with a Arms Park showdown with Munster on Friday, September 16, (19.35), and will gear up with pre-season friendlies against Gloucester and Zebre Parma. 

Dacey is relishing the Friday night clash with Munster and is counting down the days until he can run out at an electric Cardiff Arms Park once more but he is acutely aware that the immediate focus is on the Cherry and Whites.

He added: “Munster is massive. They’re one of the biggest sides in Europe coming to Cardiff Arms Park. 

“These are the games you play rugby for, but there’s no easy game in this league anymore. We’ve got to take it one game at a time and we have to perform. There’s no excuses any more.  

“We've got a squad, these boys are capable of doing big things and we have to put it out there on the pitch.  

“Running out at CAP is like something I've never experienced. We’re looking forward to it but it's a case of getting these two pre-season games going, seeing where we are and hopefully we can have a good start to the season and do something special.” 

Tickets for the first five home games of the United Rugby Championship season will be available for purchase next week. 

Season Memberships still offer the best possible value at just £19 per game for adults, £15 for seniors, £9 for students and £4 for juniors. To purchase a Senior Membership today, click here.