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We restored pride in the jersey with improved performance says Young

First Team News | 17th April 2022

Dai Young believes the Cardiff players showed what the Blue and Black jersey meant to them during a spirited display against Saracens on Sunday.

Following disappointing derby defeats to Scarlets in recent weeks, the Blue and Blacks faced a tough trip to London for the last 16 of the European Challenge Cup and pushed the three-times European champions to the end.

Ultimately tries from Tomos Williams, Owen Lane and Rhys Carré wasn’t enough to leave StoneX Stadium with a ticket to the quarter finals but the director of rugby was pleased with his side’s improved performance.

Young said: “We played really well today and it was a one-score game for most of that game. It was a game we could’ve won and we left some points out there.

“I’m really pleased with most of the performance. Of course you’ll get busted on occasions against Saracens but we scrambled well and our first-up defence was pretty good.

“In our attack we caused them problems and our set-piece held together.

“So we’re pleased with today but it leaves a little frustration in terms of asking where that’s been over the last two weeks.

“We’ve shown patches over those games, where we had 25 and 35 minute performances but the rest wasn’t good enough.

“Today, we’re disappointed we lost but it was a far better performance although frustrating. But that’s the game. Mark McCall said to me that it was a game he thought we could’ve won.

“When you take the emotion away, the reality is we have a plan and we know where we are. We didn’t change the plan when we beat Leinster and Glasgow and we won’t on the back of two poor performances.

“But even in those poor performances there were good parts but the last 20 minutes last week was unacceptable.

“Once the game went away from us, we didn’t show a fight which I need to see from any team I’m involved with.

“The boys were disappointed in themselves and they showed today what putting the jersey on means to them. That’s what all supporters want at the end of the day even if we know we won’t win every game.

“Sarries are a fantastic team and you only have to give them a sniff and they’re away.

Their wings worked really well off their wings and started to attack our big guys around the rucks. That started to give them a bit of joy.”

Scrum half Williams proved to be the spark in the Cardiff side, grabbing a try and an assist either side of half time to keep the visitors in the contest.

With the Blue and Blacks heading into the final games of the United Rugby Championship, Young has called on his side to continue to to improve - starting with next week’s home clash against Ospreys.

“Tomos was outstanding. He came on last week and really spiked it up a little bit,” added the former Wales prop.

“But as I say, I don’t doubt how much these boys care. They were hurting last week, and rightly so as we weren’t good enough.

“What we need to do is make sure we replicate today’s performance until the end of the season.

“What I’ve always told them is that if they go out and give everything to the jersey but we’re still not good enough then we’ll accept that.

“Over the last two weeks there’s been doubts whether that passion was there but today we showed it’s still there.

“I’ve just told the players in the changing room now - the Ospreys are coming for us.

“Both of us haven’t got too much to play for until the end of the season, except for some pride.

“But when you put that Cardiff jersey on, everyone wants to beat us so they’ll be gunning for us. We’ll need to up our game again from today.

“It would be nice to be somewhere near consistency in selection because we made 11 changes this week.

“That’s come about from having no rugby to having a game every week, so we’re struggling with keeping a team on the field because we haven’t had that momentum all season.”