Cardiff’s growing confidence and belief was instrumental to their dramatic Boxing Day derby win over Dragons RFC, says Ben Thomas.
After a pulsating derby affair at Rodney Parade, the hosts took a late lead through a 72nd minute JJ Hanrahan penalty, and looked set to end Cardiff’s 14-match winning streak in the east Wales derby.
However, the Blue and Blacks refused to be beaten, as Corey Domachowski crashed over in the final play of the game to claim a last-gasp bonus point victory.
The win takes Cardiff to fifth in the United Rugby Championship table, and Thomas hailed the squad effort on show to earn a hard-fought victory in the fiery affair.
“It was tough, as we knew it would be, coming down here to a full Rodney Parade on Boxing Day,” said the utility back.
“We knew it would come down to the last 10 minutes, hopefully not the last five, but that’s the way the game went and we were lucky to come away with it.
“The way that our season’s gone, we knew if we stuck in the game, within a score in the last 10 minutes that we could always get back.
“The boys knew we had to dig in together to get that last try. You always expect that from a derby, especially Cardiff-Dragons.
“It’s always going to come to blows in a way but we knew everyone would be fired up, we knew we had to control our emotion and the rugby would take care of itself.
“We had a real good start to the season, similar to last year but we know we have to come through this derby period with a few victories so we’re off to a good start and hopefully we can carry this momentum into next week.
“South Africa was huge for us, to get that win against the Sharks was a real boost to our confidence, the Wales boys have come back and added to that and we’ve been able to carry that run on.”
Next on the horizon for Dai Young’s men is back-to-back home derbies against Ospreys and Scarlets. Thomas expects an equally tough challenge ahead but says the Arms Park crowd will provide a boost for his side.
“We know what the Ospreys are going to bring to the Arms Park,” added the academy graduate. “It could be a real tough battle up front but for us it will be nice to be back at home, get our fans behind us as they always do and we’re really lucky to have that.”
Tickets for Cardiff’s Arms Park derbies against Ospreys (3pm on New Year’s Day) and Scarlets (January 7, 5.15pm) are available now but are selling fast. To secure your tickets click here.