Owen Lane was thrilled to kick-off the United Rugby Championship season with a bonus-point win as Cardiff overcame adversity to conquer Connacht.
The wing bagged two tries on an electric evening at the Arms Park and while he was pleased to contribute, the overwhelming feeling was one of a collective job done.
It came against all the odds with Cardiff without a recognised fly-half for more than an hour after injuries to Rhys Priestland and Jarrod Evans. But Lane, Halaholo and Liam Belcher all added to Hallam Amos’ early score to secure maximum points.
Lane said: “I’m obviously really happy to cross the whitewash twice. It’s always nice for a winger to bag some tries but the important thing was we got the win, we got the five points and that’s what we targeted coming out of pre-season.
“We have a good start to the season with four out of five at home so we can hopefully target those and try to get some wins to get the ball moving forwards.
“It obviously helped that they had yellow cards in the backline, that gave us a bit more space. Lloyd and Tomos did an exceptional job stepping up. It’s not nice losing our two tens and hopefully they are both okay and make full recoveries.
“But Lloyd and Tomos are both exceptionally gifted players and slotted in nicely. It was an easy transition and they put us outside backs into space and luckily we were able to capitalise.
“Nothing changed in our game plan, Lloyd and Tomos were both able to execute the plan as well as they did, we probably went back to basics a bit more, kicking off nine and not doing anything too special.
“At the end of the game things opened up and we were able to capitalise but credit also has to go to the forwards, who did a fantastic job. They came under a bit of heat in the first half but in the second they bounced back and gave us a good platform to work off.”
Cardiff travel to face the Ospreys in Round Two before three consecutive home encounters. Lane is relishing his side’s first Welsh derby of the season and was quickly reminded by the media in attendance on Friday that it has added significance with Wales’ autumn on the horizon.
He continued: “Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling next week. We always target derbies, it’s always nice to pay against the boys you know and try to win some brownie points. Hopefully we can cross the line and get the win.
“I am definitely targeting the autumn, I wouldn’t lie and say I’m not. I want to be back in that Wales set-up but to do that I have to play well here, stay in the team and if I do that hopefully it takes care of itself.”
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