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Young proud as Cardiff battle back from adversity to claim maximum points on URC opening day

First Team News | 24th September 2021

Dai Young was proud of the way his side battled against adversity to claim maximum points on the opening night of United Rugby Championship action.

Both outside halves - Rhys Priestland and Jarrod Evans - were forced to depart the field in the first half, forcing Lloyd Williams to stand in and replacement Tomos Williams taking over the kicking duties.

But an electric second half display saw the hosts clinching the bonus point, with URC Player of the Match Owen Lane securing a brace.

The Director of Rugby was impressed with the contribution of the scrum half duo but insists there are still areas for his side to improve on when reflecting on the full 80.

“Obviously, we’re really happy. We would’ve settled for a bonus point win before the game and we would’ve settled for a bonus point win half-way through the first half,” explained the former Wales prop.

“I don’t think we started well and they won most battles in the first half.

“We got our noses in front at half time and in the second half we were a different team.

“We talked about winning a few more battles, certainly around the contact area and we weren’t physical enough with our carries.

“The set piece was better as well after we had a couple of penalties against us. 

“To get over the hurdles that were chucked our was really commendable.

“To lose two 10s is really difficult and Lloyd did a great job, with Tomos excellent when he came on.

“To win the second half by something like 19-8 was a great win in the end.

“It’s very hard to spend time practicing without your two 10s but we have got players of quality.

“Lloyd did an excellent job there and Tomos was a real asset to us and a real threat to them every time he had the ball. He created most of our opportunities.

“You’ve got to give Lloyd a lot of credit and lead the team as a 10.

“Our game management wasn’t great on occasions. They were kicking it downfield and we got lulled into running it back from too deep on occasions.

“Our game management needs to be a little bit better, and the balance from running to kicking needs to shift a little bit.

“I don’t mean to kick the leather off the ball, but there were opportunities there to send it back. They were coming up with a full line and there was a lot of space there.

“We gave away five penalties in that period and that was a real turning point in the game.

“When we looked like pulling away, we ended up defending a line-out on our own line and if they had gone over it could’ve been nip-and-tuck right until the end.

“They had an over-throw, we ended up going up the other end. They had a yellow card and we ended up pulling away.

“It probably wasn’t as comfortable as the score suggests, but I’m really pleased with the adversity the boys overcame.

“We played some good stuff, the forwards were much better in the second half. There are lots of things to improve on, lots of things to work on but we have to be happy with that result.”

Next up for Young’s men is a trip to Swansea to face Ospreys in the first regional derby of the campaign.

But, following a memorable evening at the Arms Park, the Director of Rugby was keen to applaud the electric atmosphere at the capital.

“We’ve got huge respect for Ospreys and they’re certainly a team on the up,” added Young.

“It’s always a difficult place to go and get a result. But tonight was huge for us and the crowd were fantastic.

“It was great to have them back and they were right behind the players.

“There were times where we lost momentum but the crowd played a real part. Hopefully they enjoyed it because it’s been a long time coming.

“The important thing for us is that we want to play entertaining rugby but we also want to play winning rugby. 

“I’m pleased to get the win and while we’re disappointed our two 10s didn’t come through, I’m sure they’ll be alright pretty quickly.”