Director of coaching David Young has praised the Cardiff Blues' team after their narrow 19-23 Heineken Cup defeat at Gloucester.
He said, "In the build-up to this game we focused on it and the return match next week as one-offs when we could prove whether or not we could cut it at this level. The answer now has to be that we can. After the disaster at the Borders I was concerned for them rather than myself because people were questioning their ability and attitude. They proved the doubters wrong at Kingsholm and they can hold their heads up high."
Young admitted that in a fine team performance the only disappointment was the poor kicking out of hand but that was more than counter-balanced by the many pluses. He also rued the team's bad luck with one or two marginal refereeing decisions. Two breakdowns in communication may have cost the side dearly. In the maul preceding Gloucester's winning try the ball was spilled by the home forwards. Blues' players stopped momentarily, thinking that a knock-on had been called. The nearside touch-judge agreed but the referee waved play on.
"It was a clear knock-on," said Young, "and I am baffled as to why play wasn't halted".
Martyn Williams may have been involved in an even more crucial breakdown of communication. With 74 minutes played the Blues were awarded a penalty in the Gloucester 22. With the score at 19-23, Williams asked the referee how much time was left. "He told me six minutes so I decided to go for the corner rather than goal." No try ensued - but the game went on for 12 minutes, including six minutes of injury time. "If I had known there was that long left we would have definitely taken the goal-kicking option", said the captain.