Dai Young was proud of his side’s response following last week’s defeat to Edinburgh, despite ultimately falling to a dramatic last gasp loss to English champions Harlequins in the Heineken Champions Cup.
Cardiff and Quins shared a total of 10 tries in a thrilling encounter at the capital, but Marcus Smith’s penalty at the death ultimately snatched victory for the Stoop outfit.
However, the former Wales prop says his side’s efforts and performance were admirable as they now prepare to take on Toulouse next week in the final match of the pool stages.
“There were a lot of positives but the real pleasing factor was that we were unrecognisable from the team that played last week,” said the director of rugby.
“The challenge all week has been to improve in all areas, individually and collectively.
“We did that tonight, playing some great stuff and scored some great tries.
“We left a few opportunities out there as well but 19 minutes and two scores in front, you’d like to think you can close those games out.
“If you watch Quins on a regular basis, that’s a regular day at the office for them. They’re never beaten until the final whistle and I never felt comfortable.
“I was really proud of the effort and way we played, but I’d never rejoice with a loss.
“I can understand how the players went for it at the end, thinking the draw wouldn’t be enough. A draw is always better than a loss but we’ll back our players on that.
“We’re up against it, and we know that, but when you play two champions you know you need something special to advance.
“But we need to go there and we need to enjoy playing rugby. We won’t chuck caution in the wind but we certainly want to play and take the game to them.
“Toulouse are another team that like to play rugby that way so it could be another high scoring game.
“I enjoyed tonight. It was a good game of rugby but I’m disappointed we lost. We can certainly be proud of the huge improvements we’ve made in one week.”
The thrilling encounter was unfortunately played behind closed doors due to the most recent Covid-19 regulations.
And while crowds are set to be welcomed back ahead of the URC clash against Leinster in two weeks time, Young believes the free-flowing match would’ve made for an epic atmosphere at the iconic stadium.
Young added: “It’s a real shame there were no crowds. We understand the reasons and it’s not for us to get involved.
“But it’s nowhere near the same to play rugby behind closed doors. It’s hard to get any feelings or atmosphere in the game.
“Both teams went out to play rugby in the way it’s meant to be played and did some excellent stuff. I’m sure people watching from home would’ve enjoyed the game.”