Blog Banner

Mulvihill determined to kick off festive derbies in style

19th December 2018

John Mulvihill wants to see his side kick off the festive derbies in fashion, as they prepare to welcome Dragons to the Cardiff Arms Park on Friday (KO 7.35pm).

The Newport-based outfit travel to the Welsh capital for the first of three derbies, with trips to Scarlets and Ospreys also on the cards over the next fortnight.

The head coach believes a good performance and result on Friday would give his side some crucial momentum ahead of the back-to-back away games either side of New Year's Eve.

“Finally, we’re back at home for our first derby of the season at the Arms Park,” said Mulvihill.

“We took some good momentum out of last week, and some confidence out of that game. What we said after the game was that, on our first day back in training, we had to hit the ground running, and we’ve done that.

“The boys have done their homework and are ready to go. It’s a derby week, against a team we’ve already faced this season away from home, and that’s narrowed our thought process and we’re ready to go.

“We haven’t been far away in games against Ulster and Saracens recently, and this week our start will be a major focus, to make sure we get that right.

“We need to get into our stroll of play and into the tempo we want in the game.

“We’ve got a pretty strong team going in, without changing too much from last week and the confidence is there in this group, and we’ll take that into the game.

“We’ve given a fair few guys an opportunity recently, whether that’s through form and injury, and we don’t want many changes from week-to-week to get a bit of consistency of selection and effort.

“Consistency is something we probably haven’t had much of this season, but we’re targeting these three derby games and will look to go as close to full strength as possible in every game we play.

“Our goal this season has always been to finish better in the Guinness PRO14 than we did last year, not only to give us an opportunity to play in the top tier of Europe once again, but also reach the play-offs of the Championship.

“That’s still within our grasps, and we’re not far away, and the good thing is it’s in our hands. The two teams above us, Connacht and Ospreys, we still get to play twice in the next few months.

“But that’s down the track. We’ve got to make sure we win this weekend and get some momentum going into the Scarlets game, which then leads into Ospreys.”

Mulvihill also confirmed that hooker, Kristian Dacey, will be taking over captaincy duties for the remainder of the campaign, in the absence of the injured Ellis Jenkins.

The Australian said: “Kristian Dacey has been appointed as the captain of the team for the rest of the season. We’ve used Olly Robinson, Josh Turnbull and Lloyd Williams over recent weeks, but if we can get a long-term version of the captain, it’ll be good for us as a group.

“He can work with our discipline in games, which has let us down over the last couple of weeks. 

“That was announced to the squad today and the boys are happy and will get behind him and support him.”

Tickets are still available for Friday's huge Guinness PRO14 derby against Dragons! Click HERE to find out more!