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Lane determined to fire on all cylinders

First Team News | 25th January 2022

Owen Lane is determined to maintain his red hot form despite his international disappointment as crowds return to Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday.

The in form wing, who has touched down three times in two games, was left out of Wales’ Six Nations squad last week but is set to face Leinster this weekend.

Lane admits he was “bitterly disappointed” to miss out on Wayne Pivac’s squad but pointed to his immense pride at representing his home club.

And with crowds finally set to return to Cardiff Arms Park he, and his teammates, have all the more motivation to perform against the formidable Irish province.

He said: “We’re looking forward to getting back out there, especially with the fact that crowds are allowed back. The last time I played with a crowd was the New Zealand game (autumn internationals) and the last time I played with a crowd here was prior to that.

“I’m looking forward to it on a personal note and I know the boys are looking forward to getting out there and hopefully we can get the win.

“The crowd makes a massive difference, especially the crowd here - it’s quite close to the pitch so you definitely feel the atmosphere and it’s one of my favourite places to play.

“ For me on a personal note it makes a big difference and I know the other boys feel the same.  I grew up watching rugby here and it’s still quite cool for me to think I’m doing that. I enjoy it so hopefully we can get a big turnout and put on a show.”

It’s been a particularly disjointed season for Lane, and the Blue and Blacks, with the South Africa saga and quarantine followed by a number of postponements and cancellations, most recently last week’s Heineken Champions Cup clash with Toulouse.

That lack of consistent game time was cited as a reason for Lane’s omission and while he admits it has been frustrating, he is focused on the one thing he can control - performances on the pitch.

He is pleased with his form, his personal progress and the style of play under Dai Young but also knows it is results that matter most.

He continued: “I was bitterly disappointed not to be selected as you would expect but ultimately it came down the fact that I have not played many games. I have a good opportunity this weekend to go out and show the coaches what I can do. Hopefully I can put on a good performance for the crowd here.

“It’s difficult not to dwell on it because obviously emotions run high when the squad is selected but my goal is to perform for Cardiff and the fans here, and hopefully we can get the result.

“It’s been the story of the season (postponements and cancellations) but we’re just excited to get back out there.

“Against Quins we gave a good account of ourselves, we played a good style of rugby and that’s the brand of rugby we want to play. Obviously the result didn’t go our way but we were happy as a team and we were looking to build on that against Toulouse. To challenge ourselves against one of the best teams in Europe but obviously it was called off for Covid reasons.

“The Edinburgh game was difficult because all the squad had just come out of an isolation period, we were probably undercooked which is not a surprise, I definitely felt it.

“Physically I was quite fatigued, I did feel a bit slow and lethargic but through the week building to Quins I was feeling better in myself. I am in the best shape I have been physically off the field in terms of my weight and body fat percentage.

“I’m just focussing on getting fit and staying fit which is key for me given my previous injury struggles. If I can perform, whatever happens happens, I’m not trying to dwell of the Wales call-up because I can’t control that. All I can control is my game.

“It is an exciting brand of rugby and we showed we can use the ball, which is always good as an outside back because you get the ball in space and that gives you opportunities.

“But we don’t want to just play an exciting brand of rugby, we want to win games ultimately. We need to find a good balance between playing that style of rugby and making the right decisions at the right times and hopefully if we combine the two we cross the finish line in some of the bigger or tighter games like Quins.”

Lane, however is acutely aware of the magnitude of the challenge ahead, against a Leinster side who have been in irresistible form in Europe.

Boasting an abundance of strength in depth, even without their internationals they are one of the strongest outfits in the game and Lane knows a full 80 minute performance is required.

He added: “They are quality opposition. They are historically one of the best teams in the league and they are definitely playing that way at the moment so it’s a big challenge. But against Quins we played very good rugby, we played with the ball, we were exciting to watch and scored some good tries so hopefully we can put on a good show and try to create an upset.

“We played them last year when they had their internationals away and we were in the game until 60 minutes but they scored a few run away tries.

“That’s the danger with Leinster they can score in quick concession very quickly. We have to put a full 80 minute performance in but historically we have been good finishing off games so we have to start well, get some tries on the board and hopefully we can compete for the full 80.”