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Turnbull relishing Welsh derby season after European success

First Team News | 19th December 2022

Josh Turnbull has set his sights on a trio of Welsh derbies after Cardiff claimed a second consecutive bonus-point win in the European Challenge Cup.

The Blue and Blacks cruised to a seven-try victory for the second-week in a row at Kingston Park and sit at the top of Pool A following their 100 per cent start to the competition.

Attention now turns back to the BKT United Rugby Championship and festive derbies against Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets, in a busy period which is likely to define Cardiff’s season.

But Turnbull is pleased with the form his side have shown and believes the Blue and Blacks can take plenty of confidence into the derbies with more and more players returning to availability and competition driving standards.

He said: “We’re not talking about anything further than these four pool games at the moment and putting ourselves in the best position possible. Now that this first round of Challenge Cup games is over, we’ll put our attention to the derbies and we’ll take them week by week. 

“If you look back to when we went to the Sharks and beat them convincingly, we had a mishap against the Bulls but for the first 35-38 minutes we were on the game. 

“We’re in a pretty good place mentally, physically we’re in a strong position and we’ve just got to keep driving standards we’re setting ourselves each week. 

“Bringing boys back in, allowing boys like Lloyd (Williams), (Lopeti) Timani and Jarrod (Evans) to have a breather this week, they will want to get back into the team and it just breeds competition. When you have competition like that everyone has to step up on their game. 

“It gives us a bit more depth going into the derbies, Owen Lane and Ellis Jenkins (making their first competitive appearances of the season) both played well. Owen got on the score sheet, Ellis had man-of-the-match. We know what Ellis can bring week in, week out when he plays and he’s back up there again today.”

Cardiff dominated every facet in the North East and while people may point to the 10 changes Newcastle had made, Dai Young had also made seven changes as he continues to build depth.

The Blue and Blacks had the upper hand up front and that forward platform allowed the back-line to run riot with the back line claiming five of the seven tries. 

Turnbull added: “I was really pleased with the way we started the game. Our driving maul and our set-piece, scrum really got going and it ultimately gave us field position to score points. 

“It has been back-to-back weeks now where we’ve stepped up. We’ve spoken all week about creating ball as well for the backs to play and they did that. Ultimately they scored a few more in the second half and ultimately it was from the platform that the forwards set.”

Cardiff kick-off a busy festive period against the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Boxing Day before returning to the Arms Park to host the Ospreys and Scarlets. 

Tickets for Ospreys on January 1 (3pm) are already limited while Scarlets on January 7 (17.15) are also selling fast. Get yours today by calling 029 20 302030 or clicking here.