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Young gives Cardiff a licence to thrill in Toulouse

First Team News | 20th January 2022

Dai Young has given Cardiff the licence to thrill as they head out to Toulouse on Saturday for the final encounter of the Heineken Champions Cup pool stage.

Qualification hopes for the knockout stages remain alive for the Blue and Blacks, but they know that anything short of a victory against the defending champions will ruled them out of contention.

After two admirable yet losing efforts with weakened sides in the opening two rounds of action, Young’s side suffered a gut-wrenching defeat to English champions, Harlequins, last week, as Marcus Smith’s last gasp penalty proved the difference at the Arms Park.

While the director of rugby insists his side must not throw caution into the wind, he’s encouraged the Blue and Blacks to go toe-to-toe with the current holders and play without fear.

“There’s too many permutations to look at anything other than going out there to get the result. Other things will take care of themselves,” said the former Wales prop.

“It’s a tough place to go and win, and they haven’t lost too many there, so it will take a big performance from us.

“But we want to go out there to take the game to them. The target for us is to try and score four tries.

“That’s our mentality, but it also doesn’t mean we chuck caution into the wind and play care-free rugby. That won’t get us anywhere, but you’re not going to win out in Toulouse by kicking goals.

“You need to score tries, and set piece-wise and defensively we need to limit them to as little opportunities as possible.

“The big thing is you can’t give them any space and you can’t stand off them. Last week they certainly weren’t the same team when they didn’t have time and space and things started going wrong for them.

“We’ve talked about giving them the respect they deserve, but not too much respect. If you sit back then you’ll lose heavily. 

“We want to take the game to them both defensively and from an attacking point of view. The set piece also has to stand up to allow us to be effective on both sides of the ball.

“What I’ve tried to get the players to understand this week is that we want to play at the top table. We want to go to places like Toulouse and these are games we need to enjoy.

“They’re challenges that we all set out to play rugby for. We’re all looking forward to it and we’ll all go out to enjoy the experience.

“The big thing from last week is that hopefully we can take confidence from being able to rub shoulders with the best of teams and be more than a match for them.

“But we also need to take the learning from that. If we’re two scores up with 18-20 minutes to go, we need to be in a position where we can nail these games.

“The big message for us is that we can’t be good one week and poor the next. We need consistency in the performances.

“Up until Edinburgh we had that. We lost against Ospreys and Bulls, but we were in those games. We could’ve won those games and we’re not too far from it.

“We’re heading in the right direction and consistency of performances across the board is hugely important.

“If you get that consistency then you’ll get the results.”

It was reported earlier today that Toulouse have positive Covid cases within their squad ahead of Saturday’s encounter.

However, until it’s confirmed by the relevant authorities, Young refuses to lose focus of the task at hand at Stade Ernest Wallon.

The director of rugby added: “It’s hit the media that there are cases out in Toulouse, but obviously that’s something we don’t get involved in.

“That’s for them to speak to the relevant parties but we’ve had no communication from anyone to say that the game’s in doubt or there are any issues.

“So we’re planning as if the game’s going ahead unless we hear any differently.

“But as I said, how much truth is in it I’m not sure, but from our point of view we’ll just crack on.

“One thing that Covid has taught us as coaches and directors of rugby is that you have to be adaptable. You’ve got to expect the unexpected because something seems to be thrown up every week.

“I’m sure, from their point of view, that they will do everything in their power to ensure this game goes ahead.

“They’re in a position where they need to win this game to qualify. They’re reigning champions and I’m sure they’ll do everything within their power to get the game to go ahead.

“But in saying that, I’m sure the health authorities will do the right thing for everyone involved.

“We’re just focusing on the game, and if we’re told differently then we’ll act accordingly. Until then, we’re just cracking on with our preparations.

“A real big budget allows them to have a squad of real quality with real depth in it. I’m sure, even if they’re missing a number of players, they’ll still be a challenge that’s for sure.”