Dai Young says there’s no place like home as Cardiff Rugby prepare to welcome supporters to a home fixture for the first time since February 2020.
The Blue and Blacks’ pre-season fixtures will draw to a close on Friday with Bath Rugby visiting Cardiff Arms Park for what promises to be a mouth-watering Anglo-Welsh encounter in the capital.
And Young is excited to finally taste the electric home atmosphere for the first time since returning to Cardiff.
“The supporters were the only thing missing when I came back. It was great to be back, and I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a bit of a thrill going out there having been away for quite a period,” said the director of rugby.
“It was great to go to Quins because we had a good travelling away support there.
“It was great to see the Cardiff jerseys and the Cardiff flags and say hello to a few people.
“I’m really looking forward to the weekend. Hopefully we’ll get a big crowd and it will be great to have a taste of the atmosphere again.
“There’s no place like the Arms Park when you’ve got a good crowd going on.”
Bath’s Gallagher Premiership campaign kicks off against Sale Sharks on Saturday, September 18.
With only a week remaining until they head into competitive action, Young expects the West Country outfit to arrive at the Arms Park fully-loaded and has called on his side to match them physically.
“I’d be surprised if Bath don’t come fully loaded. It’s only a week away from the start of their season so I don’t think they’ll be too far off the team that they want to start the season,” added the former Wales prop.
“I’m sure they won’t risk someone that might not play next week, but they’ll be a very strong team built on strong foundations.
“The set piece is something I’m sure they will test us on and they spend a lot of time on their scrum and line-out drives.
“They’ll bring that to us and I also know there’s been a lot of talk coming out of there about getting the best out of their backline.
“If Danny [Cipriani] plays, he’ll make a big difference to their attacking game.
“We’re expecting a big challenge and first and foremost we must match them physically. If you don’t do that, you’ll get steam-rolled, but if you do then you’ll have a chance.”
Cardiff head into the encounter on the back of a thrilling 11-try encounter against Harlequins last weekend.
And while the Blue and Blacks ultimately lost to the English champions, Young was pleased with his side’s overall performance in Twickenham.
The director of rugby explains: “Obviously you never want to lose a game, and you’re never going to celebrate after you’ve lost a game so we’re ultimately disappointed not to come away with the result, especially after the position we’d put ourselves in after 40 minutes.
“But I was really pleased with a lot of the aspects of the game. Attacking-wise, in the first half especially, we looked in good shape and had good accuracy.
“We tried to play at a tempo, which something we want to take into the season. To be able to play with tempo you must be accurate, and I thought we were during the first half.
“Defensively, our line-speed was good and the collisions were good.
“I was pretty pleased and then in the second half we put the less experienced guys out and they put their heavy mob out.
“So at the end of the day, the result isn’t the most important thing but there were far more positives than negatives.
“There were a couple of boys coming back from long-term injuries as well, which was great to see them back out on the field.
“I was impressed with big parts of the performance and squad. We knew we would be in for a challenge finishing off with a few of the academy boys coming on, but the experience they got would’ve been hugely valuable.
“It was great to see some of the boys coming back and it was a worthwhile exercise.”
Tickets are available now as Cardiff welcome Bath to the capital for a mouth-watering pre-season clash on Friday! Join us as supporters finally return to the Arms Park terraces!