Director of Rugby Mark Hammett praised the way his Cardiff Blues battled back to push reigning Guinness PRO12 champions Leinster all the way - but admitted a slow start in both halves had cost his team at least a deserved losing bonus point.
Cardiff Blues roared back in the second half at the RDS and tries from Cory Allen and Sam Warburton saw them just four points behind.
Blues were also within losing bonus point range in injury time but a last gasp try from Leinster – as Blues looked to play from deep and force a draw - saw them take a maximum and leave Hammett’s men empty-handed.
“The last few minutes was reflective of our play at the moment. Knowing when to play and when not to, the smart choice would have been to kick the ball out and take a point away,” said Hammer.
“We got ourselves back in the game after the first ten minutes of each half that have cost us.
“We knew we would have to be at our best against Leinster. They play a wide game with a lot of in behind balls, and a lot of time we shut it done. But sometimes we didn’t and certain individuals have to look hard at themselves and around making their tackles.
“A big part of me being here initially is seeing how we are, how we react. We worked our butts off and the players are throwing the kitchen sink at it. Now we need to add the finesse and shape to it.
“We are an improvement but it hurts when you see 37 points against you and take nothing away, when in a lot of ways we were better than them.”
Reflecting on the opening four games of the league season, Hammett admitted Blues now needed to start taking their chances to secure victories.
He added: “The first half at Leinster we should have got over the line a few more times, we need more patience and at this early stage of the season that is where we are. That’s not permanent but it is certainly something that is biting us.
“There are no easy games in the Guinness PRO12. Two teams with 15 players play within the white lines and that is how it is. We know what we have got to do; we will recover well and put in our best performance in against Connacht.
“Part of my brief was to have an audit on where we are at. The board said let’s have six months and see where we are, the overall set-up and where we are. We are four weeks into that and I’m liking passion here. But I’m still learning the set-up and mentality.”
Meanwhile, Hammer revealed Blues would monitor the fitness of centre Dafydd Hewitt after he was forced off in the first after a heavy clash in midfield.
“Daf got a whack and fairly decent cut which will certainly need stitches and we will see how he is in the week,” concluded Hammer.