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There's a lot to be pleased around - Sherratt

3rd March 2024

Post-match reaction | Head coach Matt Sherratt was ‘pleased’ with his side’s performance and effort against top of the table Leinster, however the visitors came out 20-33 winners in their BKT United Rugby Championship clash at Cardiff Arms Park.

The Blue and Black conceded two early tries, but fought back valiantly to lead heading into the break with a brace of tries from prop Rhys Carre, before Leinster’s power eventually told in the second half.

“I think if I'm honest there’s a lot to be pleased around in terms of two things you want to see as a coach is effort and your game plan coming out and we saw both of those,” said Sherratt.

“The reality is to beat Leinster, probably sometimes you need little bit of luck and every chance you get you need to take and that was probably the difference in the end really.

“I think a lot of the effort tonight has been there all season but Josh Turnbull's 200th, you could see in the changing room before, if there's one bloke that you're going to put an extra bit of effort in for us, Josh Turnbull, because he spent his whole career off the back of 100% effort.”

Sherratt put specific tactics in place to combat the Leinster defence and despite an early charge down off a Tinus de Beer kick, which led to the away side’s opening try, it was paying dividends with Cardiff leading at the break.

Leinster however scored shortly after the resumption with Sherratt admitting that their power eventually wore Cardiff down in the second half.

“They’re a multi-phase team, so we focused on trying to come to conclusions in sector of attack and defence early,” added Sherratt.

“You probably saw in the first half lots of crossfield kicks, chips over the top, because they're a team that just wears you down.

“Unfortunately, a few times you can be 15-8 with 10 minutes to go and then the scoreboard gets blown out, so, tactically for the first half, I thought we were excellent.

“They've got obviously a new South African defence coach. Their defence has completely changed.

“They've gone from a drift defence to a flat-out blitz, so, lots of chips over the tops, crossfield kick, short sides, our forwards a little bit deeper and we got the benefits towards the end of the second half.

“Probably in the second half, the first half kind of wears you down a little bit and once you let them in the 22 unless you get a turnover within the first couple of phases they just keep coming and coming and coming and their power wears you down eventually they get over the line.”

Cardiff are next in action at the Arms Park on Saturday, 27th April against Edinburgh and although the Judgement Day fixture against Ospreys is classified as a home game, Sherratt would like to see the season structured differently with the matches more evenly spaced our throughout the campaign.

“We talked before the game about potentially some people's last game at home, but it's very difficult to make anything of it in March 2nd when there's another three months of the season left.

“It’s something I think the league needs to have a look at where there's so many fixtures bunched into one part of the season that then it needs to be evenly spread out for financial reasons but also for reasons that I've just talked about as well like Sir Josh Turnbull and having something May time to celebrate.”