Dai Young has called on the Cardiff supporters to give Sale Sharks a trademark Arms Park welcome ahead of Saturday’s crucial Challenge Cup knockout clash.
The Round of 16 encounter will see the capital hosting its first European knockout tie since the Blue and Blacks famously beat Pau in the 2018 semi final, on the road to silverware in Bilbao.
Young believes an electric Arms Park atmosphere would give his side a boost heading into Saturday evening as Cardiff continue their hunt for a third European crown.
“At the start of the season, you’re aiming to give yourself an opportunity at the business end of the campaign and to play against top opposition in European competition,” explained the Director of Rugby.
“We’ve earned home advantage, so we’re hoping for a big crowd here on the weekend that gets right behind us.
“A full Arms Park is a fantastic place to play rugby and obviously the players really appreciate that support. We’re expecting another big crowd to get right behind us.
“We’ve got to do our job on the field to get them excited and get them behind us, but we’re really looking forward to the occasion.
“Yes we’re proud of our history in this competition, but it doesn’t stand for much going into the game.
“But of course we want to do well. We spoke about it at the start of the year, and we wanted to make sure we had home advantage.
“That’s all you can ask for because whoever you play at this stage is going to be a quality team. We know how good Sale can be, but we’ve got home advantage.
“We can’t look past this one game. You’ve got to look at what’s in front of you but if we can play to our best on the weekend, there’s no reason why we can’t get the result and hopefully we’ll march forward.
“It’s one game at a time but we are really proud of our history and we’d love to do something similar.
“It’s a little bit of a Wales-England type scenario as well, which always helps. We know it’s going to be a real tough game but I’m sure it’s going to be a really entertaining game.
“We have fantastic support at the Arms Park and it’s a great place to play when it’s got a full house. Fingers crossed we’ll have a full house because that 16th man is something we’ll certainly need on the weekend. We’re really looking forward to the weekend.”
Saturday’s visitors currently occupy second place in the Gallagher Premiership table, with a squad that includes England internationals such as Manu Tuilagi, George Ford and the Curry brothers.
However, the Director of Rugby is confident is side can secure the result if they play to their best, but has warned that they must deal with Sale’s physicality.
“Most of the money will be riding on Sale, and we’re aware of that but it doesn’t really matter come kick off time.
“They don’t hide the way they want to play. They’re full of size, power and physicality up front and you’re going to have to match them on the gainline.
“They’ve got real big carriers right through the team so you’re going to have to control the gainline because if they start getting penetration and front foot ball, they’re going to be a very difficult team to stop.
“We’re going to have to look to try and create our own tempo and our own intensity because a slow game will suit Sale far more than it would suit us.
“They’re a real quality team and while we’re going to have to match their physicality, we’re going to also have to play some rugby ourselves.
“It’s not a game you could sit back and hope to capitalise on a few mistakes. We’ll have to take the game to them.
“When Alex [Sanderson] came in, what he did at Saracens is well documented but he’s brought in the defence, a hard edge and that winning mentality.
“They’re a quality outfit and we’re going to have to be at our best to win.
“From one to twenty-three will need to play well but it’s not mission impossible. If we play to the best of our ability we believe we can get the right result. It’s a big game for us.”
Cardiff take on Sale Sharks in the European Challenge Cup on Saturday, April 1 (8pm) with tickets available now. Call 029 20 302030 during normal office hours or click here to buy yours today!