Dai Young has called on Cardiff to produce a performance that the “fantastic” Arms Park crowd can be proud of, when the Blue and Blacks welcome Emirates Lions to the capital on Friday.
The capital club will be looking to build on the opening day home victory over Munster, while also seeking a response following last week’s defeat in Glasgow.
Young praised the support shown from the Arms Park faithful and wants their loyalty to be rewarded with an entertaining match and a performance to match from the hosts.
“We’re all very proud to wear the jersey and play here at home where we have a fantastic support every game. They come out in their numbers and are really vocal,” said the former Wales prop.
“Every team that comes here will say how good playing at the Arms Park is because the crowd is really close, really noisy and we really appreciate that support.
“In certain periods of the game when we need the crowd - because you’ll never get momentum for the full 80 minutes - they will respond. They really are a 16th man and we really value that support.
“We’ve got a job on the field. We love playing at the Arms Park, we’re really looking forward to it and hopefully we can give the supporters what they deserve with another performance and another win to keep that momentum building.
“As we said in pre-season, we’re looking at every game as a building process. We don’t want to get too emotional when we win and we don’t want to get too emotional when we lose.
“You’ve got to look to keep improving every week. We didn’t build on the Munster game last week so hopefully we can bounce back at home against a very good Lions team.
“You only had to look at the game last week when they played against Ospreys, who we all know have a very good team at the minute. They had something like six British & Irish Lions in their side, but the Lions still nicked it right at the end.
“So it’s going to be a real good game with lots of rugby to be played by both teams. It should be a lot of entertainment for the people that come to watch.
“Last season we pushed them really close [in Johannesburg] and we were certainly unlucky to come away with nothing at the end of the day.
“But it’s all about the set piece and you’ve got to match their set piece. They’ve got a massive set piece, so the scrum and driving line-outs will always be a challenge, and we’re not kidding ourselves that most teams will try and challenge us there.
“But we need to stand up to that challenge on a weekly basis and this is probably one of the best teams in the league for that.
“We can see there’s a big challenge there, but as well as that they will play rugby from all areas of the field. They’ve got real gas out wide so set piece parity we need to get as well as stopping them getting quick ball and getting it out wide quickly.
“We also need to get quick ball in orer to cause them any problems, which means being effective in our first three phases. If we manage that, we’ve got the ammunition to cause them problems. But if it becomes a slow game, it will sit them far more than it will suit us.”
Looking back at the defeat in Glasgow last week, the Director of Rugby added: “Obviously it was a disappointing performance and a disappointing result.
“We knew that we were, for want of a better word, going into a bit of a Lions’ den and walking into a perfect storm with Glasgow. They hadn’t had a home game for a while, they’d lost their last five or six games towards the end of last season, which led to them changing their coach.
“They’d also lost their first game this season so we knew they were going to be pumped for this game and fully loaded with their best team as well.
“We knew we had to be at our best to get the result and we weren’t. We started the game really well. Although we were under pressure for big parts of the first 20 minutes, we handled what they threw at us and got our noses in front.
“We were very competitive for the first sort of 20 to 23 minutes, but then got a yellow card and fell apart in that 10 minute period when they scored three tries that put them in the ascendancy and put our backs up against the wall.
“We struggled to get back into the game before half time but in the second half we showed some recovery phases in the game and started to pull it back. We got to 28-17 at one stage and if we could’ve got something then, we could have been a lot closer. I’m not suggesting we would have beaten them, because they were the better team, but we could have made it a lot closer.
“But then get another yellow card and ultimately they get the try that took them away and unfortunately we get one or two sloppy tries right at the end.
“That distorts the score in my view. We weren’t at our best and there’s things that we need to be doing better.”
Cardiff welcome South African outfit Emirates Lions to the capital for Friday Night Lights! Show your support and join us at the Arms Park, with tickets available NOW!