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Rees wants reaction from Cardiff Blues A following Leinster defeat

15th September 2018

Richie Rees hopes to see a reaction from his Cardiff Blues A side, after they suffered a heavy defeat to Leinster A at Dublin.

It was a first loss in the Celtic Cup for Wales’ Capital Region, but they are set to welcome Ulster A to the Arms Park next week for the first home game of the campaign.

The former Wales scrum half believes there is no better place to strike back, than at home, and hopes his side will use the experience at Energia Park as a learning curve.

“It’s frustrating from everyone’s point of view, but hopefully they take something away from this. We had a vey honest and open de-brief post-match in the changing room and it’s about how they react to it next week,” said Rees.

“In two or three years time, hopefully they’ll be able to look back and see the positives of the situation.

“A few youngsters who came on, especially the front row, were excellent. Lewis Jones really stood out and Dane looked lively when he came on.

“If I’m honest, there weren’t a lot of positives to bang home about. The scrum in the last 20 minutes stood up well but apart from that it’s a huge learning curve and a reality check for where we are as a team. It’s now about how we get better.

“We can now look forward to our first Celtic Cup game at home, and try to put this game to bed early. The beauty is, we get a chance again next week to roll the dice.”

The home side crossed for eight tries over the course of the game, while Cardiff Blues responded through scores from Sion Bennett and Tom Williams.

Rees was brutally honest about his side’s performance, and says there is plenty to work on ahead of next week’s game.

Rees said: “We touched on a couple of aspects in the changing room after the game. You come to a place like Dublin, against a side like Leinster, and even if you’re only 10 or 15 per cent off your game, they will punish you. We were probably 30 or 40 per cent from where we were last week as a team.

“They’ve got a strength-in-depth here that we simply don’t have, but the brutal honesty of it is that we weren’t good enough today.

“That’s from the players, the management - it’s everyone. We need to put it right over the next few weeks.

“It will take time to get things right. Combinations and teams take a while to gel, but the truth is that we gave them a few of their tries today, and we couldn’t handle the physicality.

“The game came down to the physical battle, and we lost it, but we also lacked urgency and accuracy in every aspect.

“We gave them a lot of their points, but it’s something to reflect, something to review, and try to put right for next week.”

The Celtic Cup will make its Cardiff Arms Park debut on Saturday, September 22, as Cardiff Blues A host Ulster A (KO 2.30pm). Tickets will be on sale on the Cardiff Blues website from Monday, with entry included in the Season Membership packages.