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Mulvihill proud of Cardiff Blues' passion and discipline in crucial victory

26th January 2019

John Mulvihill was proud of his side's effort and discipline as Cardiff Blues scraped a narrow victory over Conference A rivals, Connacht, in dismal conditions on Saturday.

The win sees Wales’ Capital Region close the gap on Ospreys and Connacht to two points, with the race for a play-off spot and European qualification heating up.

The head coach was pleased to see the game-plan pay off against the Galway-based province, and praised the reaction after being reduced to 13-men for a period in the first half.

“We gave 100 per cent out there tonight and gave all we could. We asked the boys to leave everything on the field and they did just that,” said Mulvihill.

“I wasn’t sure if an eight-point difference was going to be enough going into the wind in the second half, but the boys hung tough.

“The penalty count against us was 11-5 in the first half, and discipline was one of the key things we spoke about during half time, because it allows teams to get out when we’ve got them under pressure.

“Our discipline in the second half was outstanding, and that’s what kept us in the game and got us to the right areas of the field.

“We usually go hard at the breakdown, but when we went down to 13 men, you can’t really do that, so we left the ruck alone and spread the field.

“We’ve played games against the likes of Dragons, Glasgow and Scarlets where conditions have been tough recently, and have had four of the last five games in similar weather, and we handled them well tonight.

“We came out of the blocks really focused. We knew that they were a team that likes momentum in their game and we picked out players we needed to run at.

“They have the likes of Colby Fainga’a and Jarrad Butler who are really good over the ball. Therefore it was important for us to run at people, rather than run at gaps, so they don’t have entry to the breakdown.

“We had specific things we did against that team today, and it worked for us.”

Owen Lane’s sensational effort proved to be the match-winner for the hosts, as he made it four tries in his last three matches.

The head coach tipped his hat to the wing but also praised Lloyd Williams and youngsters, Shane Lewis-Hughes and James Botham, for their performances in the tough conditions.

Mulvihill said: “It was better than last week and it was a great finish. We were down to 13 men, and only had six back, so didn’t think we’d go wide in that scenario, but it was great work between Owen and Lloyd Williams down the left.

“Lloyd was outstanding tonight as well. He’s a really good running nine as well as being an excellent kicker.

“But we encouraged him to run tonight and he took off before Owen finished really well in the corner. That’s an international wing’s finish.

“Shane Lewis-Hughes played against Lyon last week, but this was his first start in the Guinness PRO14, and James Botham made his debut for us tonight.

“Those boys will be our future and for them to have some success in tough conditions is good. 

“They worked really hard and we’ll keep exposing them at this level, because that will only be good for them, going forward.”