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Forwards laid platforms for backline to flourish - Young

First Team News | 17th December 2022

Dai Young has hailed the effort of Cardiff’s pack, which laid the platform for a thrilling bonus point win over Newcastle Falcons on Saturday.

The Blue and Blacks’ 47-10 victory at a bitterly cold Kingston Park ensured that Young’s side have claimed maximum points from the first half of the European campaign, with focus now set to turn to a trio of festive derbies.

While backs Josh Adams, Rhys Priestland, Owen Lane and Mason Grady all registered on the score-sheet in Newcastle, Young says it was the hard graft up front that allowed the backline to flourish.

“I though it was a pretty complete performance from us. We were dominant up front, the scrum went really well and the driving line-out went really well,” said the former Wales prop.

“We didn’t allow them much platform off their driving line-out, and we won the battle of the gain-line.

“We had some real penetration with our carries, which gave us some speed of ball and we took our opportunities.

“I couldn’t ask much more of them. We were in control for most of the game and we’re really pleased with the performance.

“We did the grunt work first, which was important. Our front five stood up, which is normally the area where everyone chuck stones at us.

“But our front five did a great job in giving us a platform tonight, and we showed what we can do, if we can get some quick ball and penetration.

“We have got dangerous players that can play some real good rugby and cause teams problems.”


Amongst those to impress in Newcastle were try scorer Owen Lane and Player of the Match, Ellis Jenkins, who both made their first competitive outings of the season.

Young says he welcomes the selection headaches created by the strength in depth at his disposal, and believes rotation has benefitted the wider squad.

The Director of Rugby added: “Both of them have picked up niggles early on in the season and haven’t really featured much. But they add to our strength-in-depth.

“And when you’ve got three derbies coming up, you know you’re going to need your squad. Obviously every game we’re going out to win, but every game we feel that we’ve got to rotate three or four players a game. If you have got strength-in-depth, that makes things a little bit easier.

“What we’ve tried to do over the last six to ten months is grow our squad. I don’t believe in a first team and a second team, I want to try and grow our squad. Along the way, you’re going to get some bumps, and I think we’ve seen some of those bumps last season, which we had to take on the chin.

“But a lot of them guys are youngsters that have played in some of those performances and are now looking more and more comfortable at this level now.

“That’s what happens when you’re trying to grow a squad. Obviously our more senior players will then feel under a bit more pressure so everyone’s fighting for selection, and that makes my job a little bit easier.

“But it also gives me some headaches with selection. But I’ve been really thrilled over the last two weeks in this competition.

“We’ve played really well but we’ve got some big games in the derbies coming up and we’re certainly not going to run away with ourselves.


First up in the festive derbies is a Boxing Day trip to Rodney Parade to take on a Dragons side who have received plaudits for their performances this season.

And Young is fully aware of the task ahead in Newport if Cardiff are to kick off the festive campaign on a winning note.

“First and foremost, I think Dean put a fantastic squad together and Dai has come in and got them really playing for each other,” explained Young.

“They are looking a real threat and they’re looking like a real decent outfit now.

“I’m under no illusions that it’s going to be a tough, tough game for us. 

“We’ve rode our luck on a couple of occasions when we’ve played them, and we’ve just got over the line. On occasions we probably haven’t deserved that. But we’re going to have to be at our best to get something down there.”

Tickets for Cardiff’s back-to-back Welsh derbies at the Arms Park against the Ospreys (Jan 1) and Scarlets (Jan 7), are available now but selling fast. Secure yours today by clicking here or calling 029 20 302030.