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Young expresses disappointment as Scarlets derby set to be played behind closed doors

First Team News | 21st December 2021

Dai Young has expressed disappointment following the news that the Boxing Day derby against Scarlets will be played behind closed doors.

Cardiff Arms Park was heading towards a sell-out crowd for the United Rugby Championship Christmas cracker, with a real feel-good atmosphere at the club following their European exploits in recent weeks

However, the Welsh Government announced earlier today that, due to the recent rise in Covid cases, outdoor sporting events will be played behind closed doors, coming into effect from December 26.

With 32 first team members returning to training on Monday, having completed their recent quarantine following the trip to South Africa, the director of rugby admits this is a further blow to the club, with supporters missing out on one of the highlights of the rugby calendar.

“First and foremost we all understand that the health and wellbeing of everyone in Wales is paramount. We all support that,” explained the former Wales prop.

“But we have to be honest as well with how disappointing playing in front of no crowd is, especially over the festive period.

“Playing a local derby at a full house at the Arms Park is something that doesn’t happen every week. So we’re very disappointed to lose that occasion and to lose what would’ve been a fantastic opportunity.

“There’s been a spring in the steps over the last couple of days, thinking about this game. Speaking to the staff here, they were telling us how much interest has been in the game.

“It was nearly sold out and commercially the game was doing really well, and that does put a spring in your step.

“Everyone was really looking forward to it. It’s been a difficult couple of weeks and it would’ve been a great way to get back on the rugby field, playing in front of a full house at the Arms Park.

“But it’s not to be. Everyone has felt a little flat today to be quite honest and everyone is a bit disappointed.

“But come later in the week, we’ll turn our focus into getting a performance out there and hopefully getting the result.

“It is hugely disappointing for everyone at the club.

“We’ve seen how much of an interest there is in this game by it being more or less sold out.

“So it certainly didn’t come across my desk about moving it to somewhere else. 

“What we would’ve like to have done is postpone it into a time in the schedule where supporters could attend the game.

“Not only did the supporters want to attend, and they’ve shown that with the number of tickets sold, but financially and commercially it’s one of our biggest days if not the biggest.

“Even if it wasn’t on Boxing Day, I’m sure there would still be a big uptake in supporters and commercially.

“We looked at trying to postpone it and trying to get a date in the calendar but obviously we were knocked back on that.”