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Young confident Cardiff are heading in the right direction

First Team News | 28th September 2021

Dai Young is confident Cardiff are heading in the right direction, ahead of Saturday's United Rugby Championship clash against Ospreys.

The Blue and Blacks kicked off their campaign with maximum points, overcoming adversity to secure the bonus point win over Connacht at the Arms Park on Friday.

Young was proud of his side's performance but refuses to get too carried away by the win, saying Cardiff still have areas of their game to improve ahead of a challenging test against Toby Booth’s Ospreys.

The Director of Rugby said: “I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but we are on a bit of a journey. We know we need to get better and we know we won’t do that overnight.

“We have the same squad, without any vast changes, so we shouldn’t expect anything totally different.

“But the big thing for me is that I’m confident we can get more out of this squad and improve right across the board.

“I do think we’re going in the right direction and we’re looking like a better team at this moment in time.

“But it’s just one game. We were pleased to get the win but I don’t think the score reflected the game truly.

“It was tighter than it looked and was a game that could’ve gone either way on one game-changing moment, which was that lost line-out.

“If they would’ve won that, it could’ve been different but there were a lot more pleasing and positive factors in the game than negative.

“I’m looking forward to it. We played against them towards the end of last season in the Rainbow Cup but this is a proper league game, which we’re looking forward to.

“They’ve come on leaps and bounds in the last 12 to 18 months. They’re looking a real quality team and we’ll have to be at our best to get a result down there.

“History will tell you that we don’t go down there and win very often so we know it’s a big challenge and one we’ll have to play well to overcome.

“Toby Booth is a really good quality and experienced coach. I never doubted that him going to Ospreys would do anything bar turning them in the right direction.

“They’re very good up front and we know the set piece on the weekend will be a challenge.

“They make a mess of the breakdown, making it really slow for you to get any quick ball, which stops you playing.

“It’s about the set piece, it’s about the breakdown and it’s about physicality on both sides of the ball.

“They’re a real quality team now and Toby has to take a lot of credit for that.”

Cardiff were dealt early blows against Connacht as both outside halves - Rhys Priestland and Jarrod Evans - were forced off after only 20 minutes of action, forcing Lloyd Williams to fill in the number 10 position.

But Young was optimistic about the outlook of Evans and Priestland’s injuries, as he gave an update on the international duo: “There’s good news on both. Jarrod obviously won’t be available for a number of weeks, but it was a sternum injury which was really nasty and he was in a lot of pain leaving the ground, and he went straight to hospital.

“He’s had scans and there’s nothing broken and there’s no damage to any major organs. It’s mostly bruising, which will take time to settle.

“He’s still in a little bit of pain but there’s no lasting damage, which is the positive. That’s good news, although you don’t want any of your players to be out for any length of time. 

“Rhys is going through the protocols, and as of now he hasn’t had any symptoms. Everything is going smoothly but as we know, that can change pretty quickly.

“He’s come through everything today, but he still has more to do tomorrow and Thursday, so we should know by then whether he’s available.

“If he’s not available then obviously we’ve got Ben Thomas and Jason Tovey who can step in there.”