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Fighting spirit was crucial to Scarlets win says Priestland

First Team News | 10th October 2022

Rhys Priestland says it was crucial that Cardiff showed their fighting spirit during Saturday’s BKT United Rugby Championship win over Scarlets.

The Welsh international wore the number 15 jersey at Parc y Scarlets, as a Tomos Williams try proved decisive in the Blue and Blacks’ win over the hosts.

The playmaker was pleased with the character shown by the squad in Llanelli and believes they were rewarded for their ability to stay in the fight, despite second half pressure from the hosts.

“After the start we’ve had to the season, it was so important that we, probably not won but just showed a bit more fight in us,” said Priestland.

“I can’t remember being part of the Cardiff team that has shown more fight than we did today. The attitude we showed today was great.

“It’s a pleasure to be a part of that on the field. We’d like to think that every game we can show that.

“Last Friday [against Lions] was very disappointing and you’re going to have games or periods in games where you don’t play well.

“But then you have to show that fight we showed tonight. It wasn’t perfect, and we had our backs against the wall for most of the second half, but we hung on in there and that’s sometimes more important than the way you play.

“That’s how you grind out victories and stay in games. It’s a very competitive league but if you show that fight for 60-70 minutes, you might nick a game at the end. 

“That’s what the best teams in the league do. They don’t always play well but they’re always in the game and that’s probably something we’ve lacked, certainly since I’ve come to the club.”

Next up for the Blue and Blacks is the visit of Dragons RFC to the Arms Park on Saturday.

With Cardiff heading into the encounter with 13 consecutive league victories over the Gwent outfit, Priestland expects a fierce challenge and insists Cardiff must be at their best on Saturday.

“The Dragons are much improved this year. They were excellent against Munster,” added the Welsh international.

“They look like a team that’s very much improving and it’s funny sometimes what a change can do.

“We were lucky to win at Rodney Parade last year and they will definitely be coming down with a spring in their step, thinking they can get a victory.

“I know we’ve had a good run against them over the last few years but it’s going to be a huge challenge for us next week against a much improved Dragons team. 

“Some of the resolve that we showed in the second half, derbies quite often are not classic games, and that’s what it will come down to.

“Who is going to jump on the loose ball, put their body on the line and willing to put their shoulder in. We’ll need to repeat that aspect of the game next week and hopefully improve on them again, particularly when we have ball-in-hand.

“We showed good glimpses of that in the first half but in the second half it was very much backs against the wall.”

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