Blog Banner

Young challenges Cardiff to kick on

First Team News | 29th November 2022

Dai Young has challenged Cardiff to back up their impressive win over Cell C Sharks when they face Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.

The Blue and Blacks claimed all five points in a dominant 35-0 win in Durban on Sunday, becoming the first side since England in 1972 to deny the home side a single point at Kings Park.

Cardiff managed the stormy conditions to come away with the ‘W’, and Young believes his side’s performance during the opening exchanges were crucial on the way to victory.

“Make no bones about it, the conditions obviously suited us more than they suited the Sharks. We put a special order in for Welsh weather and South Africa obliged,” said the former Wales prop.

“But we knew we had to have a good start. If you lose the first 25 minutes out here and they get a couple of scores in front of you, they have got too much power up front and will just starve you of possession.

“With the quality the Sharks have got in their team, if you give them field position and plenty of possession, you are going to come unstuck and it becomes a very big mountain to climb. So it was hugely important we got our noses in front and I thought we controlled the first 25 minutes really well, with kick pressure, field position and a few turnovers.

“Tactically, we played the conditions really well, got a lead and made the Sharks have to chase the game - and the weather wasn’t conducive to chasing the game. It was always going to be a night where if you got your noses in front it was going to be hard for the opposition to turn it round. Those first 25 minutes put us into the ascendancy and won us the game.”

Young added: “Because we got ourselves a good lead, it forced the Sharks into playing a bit more. There were a couple of kickable penalties that could have got the scoreboard ticking over for them.

“So I am not bigging up too much that we nilled them, but the important thing for us was we went out and delivered tactically and mentally and I thought it was an excellent win.

“We came out here last season and put in a pretty decent performance against the Lions, where it just got away from us, but then we played against the Stormers and they were on a completely different level than us.

“We had a good thumping that night and we had talked about trying to put that right coming back out here. We want to be competitive against every team we play and we have got a huge respect for South African rugby.

“I said to the players we had to be eight out of ten mentally, we had to be first to close any space down, any 50-50 balls we had to be on our feet first and you couldn’t ask any more of the players. They were outstanding. I thought we thoroughly deserved that win and I’m really proud of the players. We were excellent.

“One caution is, going to the Bulls, they are going to be right up for that game, so we have got to back it up.”

One of the stand-out performers at Kings Park on Sunday was Thomas Young, who contributed two tries and played a key role in a further two scores for his side.

The director of rugby has been pleased with the back row’s performances since returning to his home club from Wasps over the summer, but insists it was a team effort to claim the win in Durban.

“He has fitted in really well,” said Dai Young. “He finished as the highest try-scoring forward ever in Wasps’ history and that’s an achievement in itself when you look at the players they have had, the likes of Lawrence Dallaglio and Joe Worsley.

“He’s certainly got a knack for the try line and I thought he played really well, but he was just one of 14 starters that played really well and then we were really pleased with the impetus the bench brought on as well.”