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European qualification remains the target - Young

First Team News | 24th February 2021

Dai Young insists top European Rugby remains the target for Cardiff Blues as they prepare to face Munster in a vital Guinness PRO14 encounter on Friday.

A defeat to Connacht last weekend put a dent in the Blues’ hopes of guaranteed qualification for the European Champions Cup and they are now four points adrift of the third place Scarlets.

The interim Director of Rugby was disappointed in costly periods lacking discipline and accuracy in Connacht but he believes the capital city charges remain very much in the running.

He said: “Europe is obviously where we are aiming. The Scarlets results put us back in the mix when we looked dead and buried, that gave us a bit of an opportunity but the Connacht game has knocked us back a little bit. Every point and game now is huge.

“Munster will be very strong up front. They have a strong driving maul and will be very direct with some real quality players even when their internationals are away. 

“Against Connacht we showed a lot of energy and we were good for 30 minutes, then we looked like we ran out of steam in the last 10 minutes of each half. We overplayed a little bit, we lacked accuracy, turned the ball over, which meant we were defending for long periods.

“Set-piece wise we were pretty solid, defensively we were pretty good for the majority of the game but some really serious lapses towards the end of both halves. Defensively we want an 80 minute performance at the set-piece we’ve set some standards, which we need to maintain and attack wise we have to be far more accurate with ball in hand. 

“We know we will have to be at our best but we’re confident. We have to play 80 minutes, 30 minutes and then falling away for 10 minutes in each half is not good enough and won’t be good enough on the weekend. We have to take those learnings from last week and come back better.”

The encounter will be the first competitive fixture staged at the iconic Cardiff Arms Park since a 34-24 victory over Benetton Rugby on February 23, 2020.

Since then Cardiff have staged home games at Rodney Parade and the Cardiff City Stadium while they returned to their iconic ground for a friendly two weeks ago.

Young added: “Obviously everyone is looking forward to getting back out and playing our first game here for a while. 

“It’s a shame there won’t be supporters there but unfortunately we’ve had to get used to that. It’s a fantastic surface and we’re really looking forward to a big game on Friday night.”