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Evans points to Arms Park blueprint ahead of Leinster challenge

First Team News | 27th January 2023

Jarrod Evans anticipates a formidable challenge against Leinster on Saturday but believes Cardiff have a blueprint for success against the Irish province.

The Dubliners are unbeaten in all competitions this season and have lost just once at the RDS Arena since November 2021.

However, Cardiff claimed a dramatic victory over Stuart Lancaster’s men at the Arms Park and Evans insist his side can take confidence from that win.

He said:  “I thought the blueprint from the Arms Park was fairly good when we played them last year. It ties in nicely with some of the things we’re looking to tidy up around our own game. 

“In our recent games we’re getting on the wrong side of penalty counts and if we start to do that in the RDS it could be a long day.

“We’re expecting a tough game but there are certain areas of our game where I feel we can hurt them. 

“It’s hard to say but they are a well-connected defensive unit and they’re clinical when they get in there. But for us it is about starting well. 

“Looking at the derbies and Brive, we probably started a little bit slower than previously. The big games we have won this year like Munster, the Stormers and Sharks we’ve had a big focus on the first 20 minutes. We have to have a massive focus on that going into the RDS. 

“Before the South African teams came in, Leinster were the only team I hadn’t beaten. We all know the powerhouse that Leinster are, they’re unbelievably clinical.

“That win was huge, The Arms Park was rocking and we got the crowd involved. How dramatic the finish was, was massive. It’s not everyday that you get a result against Leinster - they are turning over some seriously big names in European and across our league by a serious amount of points. 

“It’s definitely up there as one of the best victories i’v been involved in.”

While Cardiff have 19 players unavailable due to injury and international commitments, Leinster have 20 players in the Ireland Six Nations squad.

That said, Leinster are renowned for their strength in depth and the conveyor belt of talent from their academy and Evans knows they will boast a strong side no matter who is selected.

He said: “They have a lot of players out with the Six Nations, I think it’s 20-odd boys out, but they’re well coached, well drilled and their academy systems are pretty good so whoever is filling in will be doing a good job because they systems which are in place. 

“We are under no illusions and whoever’s going to be wearing that Leinster jersey on the weekend will be fit for purpose and give us a real game.

“I’m just looking forward to hopefully finishing this block well. Its a big achievement for us getting into the Round of 16 in the Challenge Cup and now we turn our attention back to trying to getting into the top eight of the URC.”