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Lane relishing another Arms Park Welsh derby

6th January 2023

Owen Lane is thrilled to be back in action and is counting down the hours until another packed Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday (17:15).

The wing endured a frustrating start to the season. Having recovered from an ankle injury in pre-season, he suffered a reoccurrence during the warm-up of the opening fixture against Munster. 

He made a scoring comeback against Newcastle last month and bagged another in front of a sell out crowd at the Arms Park last week.

Now he is looking to kick on with the Scarlets up next in another BKT United Rugby Championship derby in the capital. 

He said: “It’s nice to be back. It was a frustrating pre-season and start to the season. I obviously got myself fit for the first game and then re-injured myself in the warm-up which was not good. I’m glad to be back and hopefully I can find a bit of form moving forward. 

“I’m lucky coming back during this period, you’re playing with full crowds which is nice to see and hopefully we can keep that moving forward. Just the buzz you get from being out there and playing, you can’t replicate that in training.

“A packed Arms Park is special and it makes a hell of a difference. Hopefully it’s not just going to be these derbies and we see crowds like this continuing to come and watch us. 

“I know I thrive on it and I know a lot of other boys do too so hopefully we can keep that moving forward.”

The academy product has now crossed the whitewash on 36 occasions for the Blue and Blacks and boasts a try-rate of just under one every two games.

Each and every year there appears to be more competition in the back-three, this time with the signing of Liam Williams and continues emergence of Theo Cabango with the likes of Jacob Beetham and Cam Winnett waiting in the wings. 

But that competition for places is driving Lane on and raising standards throughout the week. 

He said: “It’s a cliched answer but more competition breads more success because ultimately you want to keep your place in the team and you want to perform. There’s a few youngsters nipping at the heels but I’m not the oldest one! Hopefully that will breed success and we will build on that.

“There’s good balance and luckily for me this week I have two British Lions in the back three - it definitely makes my job a lot easier. 

“Liam’s a senior player and it’s well documented how good a player he is. It’s just a voice out there, he’s loud in D and attack he takes the pressure off you as an outside back, as he’s organising players around you. 

“He also has a skill set which means any line-breaks, if you get on his shoulder you might walk away with a try. It’s good to see him back.”

Lane and the Cardiff back-line will certainly be hoping for more ball and better conditions than that seen during last week’s slender defeat against the Ospreys.

As the heavens opened above the Arms Park, the Ospreys reverted to their famed set-piece and forward orientated game and it was enough to grind out a 22-19 win. 

Lane admits it was a frustrating afternoon and he expects a much more open game against the Scarlets but he is well aware of the attacking weapons, and mindset, that the west Walians possess. 

He added: “We were looking forward to the derby period and really wanted to kick on in the season. We were sitting comfortable in the table but ultimately our performances haven’t been that great. 

“We showed a bit of resilience and character against the Dragons to actually get over the finish line at the end which we were pleased with but we weren’t happy with the performance. 

“Against the Ospreys, it was terrible conditions but our discipline let us down and they have such a good pack. Our set-piece probably wasn’t up to scratch on the day and we gave their pack too many entries into our 22, it’s full of internationals and they’re bound to come away with points, which they did. 

“We need to work on our discipline this week and hopefully we can bounce back and get a result. 

“The Scarlets will come here full of confidence, it was a tough game against the dragons with 14 men, they will be dangerous and we have to keep our wits about us.

“They have some very dangerous players especially out wide. (Jonny) McNicholl, Steff (Evans), all of their back three are dangerous runners with ball in hand and they always seem to pop up with the ball. 

“They don’t wait on the wing, they go roaming and they go looking for the ball. That’s definitely a challenge for us defensively but you can’t ignore their pack either because they have some big units who can shift the ball. 

“It is a challenge but hopefully we can get organised and set early, get off the line, put pressure on their skill set and hopefully we can force some errors. 

“They’re going to be very dangerous, we’ve had bad runs in the past where you feel like everything is against you and it’s not a nice place to be. But sometimes it can be one game that flips it for whatever reason and hopefully that wasn’t last week!”