Richard Hodges insists there were positives to take from the first half of Saturday's defeat to Munster, as Cardiff Blues' focus turns to Friday night's derby against Dragons at Cardiff Arms Park.
Danny Wilson’s side had a three point lead going into half time, but a ruthless display by the hosts after the break secured a bonus-point victory.
Taufa’ao Filise was sent to the sin bin during the second half, which was Cardiff Blues’ first yellow card of the season, and Munster capitalised on the extra man by crossing for two tries in the 10-minute period.
Hodges, who works with Shaun Edwards on the team’s defensive patterns, believes that Cardiff Blues’ game management and kicking game during the second half contributed to the loss, as Munster’s deadly back three took full advantage on the counter.
“Half time we had a vibrant changing room and we were really happy with how it had gone,” said Hodges.
“We managed to do a lot of what we’d prepared for during the week and scored a cracking try as well.
“We knew at some point that Munster were going to have a purple patch and unfortunately we fed that through the yellow card.
“Our kicking game during the course of the first half resulted in a lot of ball being off the field so we were defending the set pieces.
“We didn’t want to feed Munster’s back three as much as we did and during the yellow card period there were two instances where we left the ball on field rather than off and ended up conceding because of it.
“We put a huge defensive shift in, and managed to get the ball back down the other end of the field, and we’re then facing the likes of Conway, Sweetnam and Wootton who are coming back at you and that’s why they broke us.
“Last week was a bit of a one-off in terms of a statistical angle. Today, in the first half we were pretty happy, but in the second half there were a couple of tries we were really disappointed with in terms of kick chase.
“You look at what Munster are able to bring off their bench and introduce into the game, and we’re exposing a lot of youngsters, which medium to long term is going to be of a great benefit for the region, but short term it’s a big ask for them.”
However, Hodges insists the Cardiff Blues squad will be fired up and eager to bounce back during Friday’s home derby against Bernard Jackman’s Dragons and hopes the Cardiff Arms Park crowd will be able to inspire the side on the night.
“There’s nothing better than a Welsh derby on a Friday night and it would be great to see a packed Cardiff Arms Park.
“The derby is coming at the right time for us, it’s just what we need. It’s a six day turn-around and we’ve got a fair few boys we haven’t used over the course of this weekend as well.
“We’ll have a big day in training on Tuesday, with Shaun down as well, and then rock into Friday night and look forward to it.”
Derby day is coming! Cardiff Blues return to Cardiff Arms Park on Friday, October 6, when they host the Dragons in the first Guinness PRO14 Welsh derby of the season. Buy your tickets today by clicking here or calling 029 20 302030 and help us #PackCAP.