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Mindset and attitude were key in Scarlets victory - Everett

Age Grade & Academy | 22nd January 2020

Craig Everett says his side’s mindset and attitude were key to their emphatic victory over Scarlets on Tuesday.

Cardiff Blues under-18 returned to Regional Age Grade Championship action with an impressive 48-7 win over a previously undefeated Scarlets side, and topped the table in the process.

It kick-started the second block of Championship action, after a WRU Schools and Colleges League campaign which saw Coleg y Cymoedd finish as runners-up following defeat to Coleg Gwent at Sardis Road, with Cardiff and Vale College, Ysgol Glantaf and Whitchurch High School also in the top six.

The win saw the Blues take their record to three wins from four games, but face a short turnaround as they travel to take on RGC on Sunday before welcoming Dragons to the Arms Park next Wednesday.

Former Worcester and Cardiff player, Everett, was delighted to see his side show their bounce-back ability and hopes a refreshed side in north Wales will continue the momentum.

The joint head coach said: “It was a really pleasing performance. The boys turned up and showed some good character and a good mindset.

“We kept the ball in-hand and went through the phases and we looked promising in that aspect of the game.

“As a group, we knew it was important to iron out the mistakes that we made in the defeat against Ospreys at the end of block one.

“The boys came into this second block fresh after finishing a really good campaign with their schools and colleges and we were confident that we could continue the momentum from the success that they had in that competition.

“For those boys who played for Coleg y Cymoedd in the final last week, it was a good test of character for them to deal with the loss and bounce back into an important game against Scarlets and put things right.

“It’s a really good learning curve for those boys.

“It’s always really pleasing when the pack get on the front foot and dominate the game, but I’m just as pleased to see Jake Thomas, as an outside back, to run the ball in as well.

“It’s really pleasing when everything comes together. The back row put a really good shift in, and they complemented each other well all night. There’s some really good partnerships building now.

“We’ve challenged the boys to keep the momentum going. We have a tough task Sunday when we travel up to RGC and the boys involved will have an opportunity to do that.

“They would’ve seen what the boys have done last night, and will have to go up there to match that.

“If we put a good performance up there, we’ll have a headache ahead of selection for next Wednesday. 

“But we’re not looking past RGC first. We’ll travel up there, do a job against them and keep building momentum from game to game.

“Three games in a week can be a difficult turnaround but as a group we’ve selected a bigger squad with 38 to 40 players.

“We have the luxury to change the line-up a little bit and keeping the boys fresh. We’re confident in the boys who will step up, and it gives the other boys an opportunity to recover should they be selected against Dragons next week.”

The young side were without Ethan Lloyd and Mason Grady in Llanelli. The Wales under-18 duo have featured prominently in the Indigo Group Premiership this season, and will continue their development at Cardiff and Pontypridd respectively, as well as with the Cardiff Blues academy.

Everett is delighted to see the duo kick-on at senior rugby, but insists it opens door for other squad members to step up and make their mark for the under-18 outfit.

Everett added: “As an under-18 group looking at Ethan and Mason, we served our purpose with them last year. 

“They’ve now gone on to the Premiership, and we’ve done what we can for them and they’ve now stepped up to the next level of their progression.

“We wish them well in that, but it shows the strength in depth that we have in the region.

“They’ve made the step up, while still eligible for the under-18, and are playing in the Premiership, and that’s brilliant for us.

“As a result, there are boys like Harvey Nash and McCauley Rowley who have stepped in and taken their opportunity with both hands. They’ve really enjoyed themselves.

“Harvey is still in his first year at this level, and will have a big year next year, so it’s good for him to have the opportunities after Ethan made the step up.”