Danny Wilson was delighted as his Cardiff Blues side dogged out an ugly win in Connacht to kick-start their Guinness PRO14 season.
The Blues went into the encounter on the back of three defeats, the latest a heart-breaking one-point loss to Glasgow Warriors but they turned that around in Ireland.
Despite the menacing winds at the Sportsground, Jarrod Evans’ late conversion secured a 17-15 win, following a brace of tries from centre Willis Halaholo.
It was a big defensive effort for Wilson’s side, which has seen steady signs of developments over the opening four rounds of Guinness PRO14 action, while speed of ball was also a key factor in both tries.
He said: “I’m really pleased. Our first half display into the wind set that up. The second half was a bit of an ugly game, it was always going to be an ugly game,” said Wilson.
“The wind was extremely strong which made it a bit of a dog fight but for us to come here, with these conditions and come away with a win is something we can build on and keep taking steps in the right direction.
“Huge credit to the group to come back late on, score the try and to Jarrod for kicking the goal.
“We’ve said before that we are reliant on speed of ball. If we can get speed of ball high then the likes of Willis will cause real problems.
“With the conditions and the way they defended we struggled to get that speed of ball but when we did get it, it gave Willis the opportunity to do what he does really well and he scored two really good tries.
“I also have to mention the defensive shift. I don’t know how many tackles we made but it was a huge amount of defensive work. We weren’t winning turnovers so there were long defensive sets.”
A common theme so far this season has been the continued emergence of a number of young players. Seb Davies was again superb throughout and the Blues finished the encounter with a front-row of Corey Domachowski, Ethan Lewis and Keiron Assiratti,
Wilson believes the hard-fought victory in testing conditions was another valuable experience for his crop of youngsters and he believes the Blues are continuing to build in the right direction.
“It’s another step in the right direction. We are building all the time, we exposed some young players and at the end a very young front row and the group keep getting these experiences.
“They came on, stayed in the game late and got the win. From a team point of view today was all about getting a win. It was an ugly win but it was a win.”
Derby day is coming! Cardiff Blues return to Cardiff Arms Park on Friday, October 6, when they host the Dragons in the first Guinness PRO14 Welsh derby of the season. Buy your tickets today by clicking here or calling 029 20 302030 and help us #PackCAP.