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These are the occasions to relish - Young

First Team News | 30th December 2022

With a bumper crowd set to attend the New Year's Day clash with Ospreys at Cardiff Arms Park, Dai Young insists this is the type of occasions to relish as players, staff and supporters.

The Blue and Blacks are set to host their Welsh rivals in front of a capacity crowd at Cardiff Arms Park, with fewer than 500 tickets remaining for the mouth-watering derby encounter.

Young, who has enjoyed plenty of derbies as both a player and coach, says his side now have the responsibility to make the home crowd proud and showcase the best that Welsh rugby has to offer.

“You’ve got to enjoy these occasions. That’s why we come into sport,” explained the director of rugby. “There’s going to be a fantastic buzz around the place and it’s a great place to play rugby.

“The crowd has been excellent all year, but to have a full house brings back the memories.

“We’ve got our own job to do on the field, to get this crowd excited. But as I say, they’ve been excellent all year and hopefully we can put in a performance that they can all be proud of.

“These are the days that we want. This is what Welsh rugby is about. Plenty of physicality, plenty of intensity and a real bumper crowd really getting behind both teams.

“I’m sure it’ll be a great occasion and we want more of these, not less of them.”

Cardiff currently sit in fifth place in the BKT United Rugby Championship table, eight points clear of Ospreys, who have moved into second place amongst the Welsh sides.

After a disappointing and disrupted 2021/22 campaign, Young is proud to see his side showing what the famous Blue and Blacks jersey means to them on a weekly basis.

The former Wales and Lions prop added: “When I came back, this place has got an emotional attachment to me, so it’s a bit more than just a job. And I’m determined to get us going in the right direction.

“We’re nowhere near where we’d like to be, and certainly we’re not going to run away with ourselves because we’ve got two massive Welsh derbies coming up which can go either way.

“We look at last weekend and we were two minutes away from losing that game, so there wasn’t much in it. 

“Where it’s been doubted how much these players care and how much they played for the jersey, that cannot be the case this year. That’s the biggest thing I wanted to achieve, and it’s the first thing that everyone is recognising - these players are playing for the jersey.

“Of course there’s things to improve on, but that’s always got to be the start for us.”

Young’s men head into the encounter on the back of a thrilling, last gasp derby win over Dragons RFC at Rodney Parade on Boxing Day.

Corey Domachowski’s try in the final play secured all five points for Cardiff, but Young is under no illusions about the challenge ahead when Ospreys visit the capital on Sunday: “It was nice to get the result, but we’re honest enough to realise that we were two minutes away from losing that game. 

“There’s still a lot of things to improve on but it’s pleasing to see, when our backs are up against the wall, that we found a way to win. 

“We certainly need to try and build on the positives while also working on the things that need working on.

“The Dragons game was back to where it’s been previously, certainly like the Welsh derbies that I remember.

“There was plenty of niggle, plenty of physicality and plenty of passion in front of a full house. It was a great occasion and with the Ospreys coming to Cardiff we’re planning on having a full house here.

“We have two teams coming off the back of wins and you can’t get much better than that. It’s all teed-up for a really big game.

“Bragging rights are always nice, but more so for the supporters than anyone else.

“For us, we know the challenge and what the Ospreys are going to bring. To be fair to them, they were a step up for us last season and we struggled to handle the challenge up front - and they were worthy of doing a double over us last season.

“We know that we’re going to have to step up again. Ospreys have pretty much got the Welsh pack in there, when you look at them. When they’ve got that, they’re as good as any pack in Europe.

“They don’t come second-best in the scrum against many teams and their driving maul is always a weapon.

“We know that’s the challenge for us, and we know that’s what’s coming. We need to stand up to that.

“Last season we couldn’t but hopefully we can this season. We certainly don’t underestimate how good this pack of forwards are, and then you’ve got Rhys Webb darting either side of it as well, causing problems.

“They are a really good side when they get their best team out on the field, and they take some beating. I’m sure they won’t be far off full strength, so we know what’s coming our way.”

The limited remaining standing tickets available for the New Year's Day clash with Ospreys can be found HERE