Dai Young has called on Cardiff to bring their ‘A-game’ ahead of Friday’s United Rugby Championship opener against Connacht.
The Blue and Blacks kick off their season under the Friday Night Lights at Cardiff Arms Park, with four of the opening five URC games being played at the capital.
The director of rugby is excited to get the competitive campaign underway but insists his side will need to be on their best when they come up against the Galway-based outfit.
“It’s hugely important, but no less important for Connacht. Playing at home puts in a bit of added pressure,” explained the former Wales prop.
“There’s added pressure to get a result because the first block of games is all about building points.
“You want to win games but you want to sit back after the five games and be happy with your point accumulation.
“We’ve got four out of five games at home so it’s a hugely important start for us and we need to pick up as many points as possible.
“I’ve got huge respect for Connacht. They play a great brand of rugby and if we’re not at our best then we’ll lose. It’s as simple as that.
“But we’re confident that if we bring our ‘A-game’ on the weekend then we’ll come away with the result. It will be tough but we can come away with the result.
“Connacht are a very exciting team and they challenge your defence because they are inventive in some of their plays.
“They’re always thinking a little bit outside the square and play high intensity, multi-phase with ball in hand, as well as having a high line speed in defence.
“They have a solid set piece with a few trick plays around that area as well.
“We’ve very similar teams that want to play rugby and want to play with the ball in hand.”
Heading into his first full season after returning to the Arms Park, Young is confident his side are heading in the right direction as they target a strong start to the campaign.
“It’s an important game for us, and the first one at home in a block where we’ve got four out of five at home,” he added.
“It’s a huge game for us but if we win it doesn’t mean we’ll kick on and win the rest, and if we lose then it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world.
“But from our point of view, we need to start moving forward. We’ve pretty much got the same squad but we’ve worked hard to change the way we want to play.
“It’s not going to be a quick fix but we’re certainly confident, come Friday night, that we can demonstrate that we’re a team heading in the right direction.
“I’m sure Connacht will say the same and when we have faced them they’re always nip-and-tuck games which can go either way. I don’t think there’s much between the teams.
“But for me, one thing I can’t do is get on this emotional rollercoaster, where if we win everything’s fine but if we lose then everything’s out with the milk bottles.
“The reality of it is that I’m confident we’re going in the right direction. Of course we want a good start and it’s important to get that, but does it change anything if we don’t? Not really.”