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Young warns Cardiff of Vodacom Bulls backlash

First Team News | 5th October 2021

Dai Young has warned his side of a Vodacom Bulls backlash when the sides meet at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday.

The South African outfit are still seeking their first points in the United Rugby Championship, after away defeats to Leinster and Connacht in the opening two rounds.

However, the director of rugby hopes Cardiff supporters can enjoy a spectacle in the capital as they look to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Ospreys.

Young said: “I thought the score last week flattered Connacht a little bit. The Bulls were better than the score would lead you to believe.

“But nothing changes from our point of view. I’m sure they’ll want to get a result on the board sooner rather than later.

“They’ll probably see this as the perfect opportunity to do that. 

“It’s no secret how they want to play the game. They have a big, powerful pack and big ball carriers who want to get on the front foot.

“We’ll need to more than match their physicality and if we can do that while moving them about, I’m sure we can get the right result.

“But we don’t want to get locked into an arm-wrestle because they’re a big, powerful unit.

“I’m excited for it and I’m hoping that the local supporters come out to support it.

“It’s a first opportunity for them to look at a South African franchise. Everyone talks up Super Rugby so it’s nice for them to have the opportunity to see them at first hand.”

The director of rugby also confirmed that Josh Navidi is in the frame for his return to the Blue and Black this weekend, following his break after the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa.

The former Wales prop added: “We’re pretty confident that Josh will be available. There wasn’t enough time last week, and it’s a joint decision around when they are or aren’t available.

“The national team’s S&C and medical staff, alongside Wayne Pivac and my team will go through the questions like where he is medically, how much training he’s done, is it safe to play him, has he had enough rest and so on.

“We felt last week was a week early for Navs, but if he comes through the rest of training this week then he’ll be involved on the weekend.

“He’s right at the top of the tree when it comes to quality and has mixed in with the best of them for a number of seasons.

“We’re hoping he can stay injury free this season and hopefully we’ll have him in the Cardiff jersey more than we have over the last couple of seasons.”

Another British and Irish Lion, Josh Adams, made his return to action during last week’s derby defeat. The star wing displayed his predatory try-scoring ability to pounce on the rebound after Rhys Priestland’s penalty attempt had struck the uprights.

However, despite crossing for two tries to the hosts’ zero, Young’s men fell to a narrow defeat in Swansea and the director of rugby says his side need to be more clinical and accurate in future encounters.

“The more times you look at it, it doesn’t get any better really,” said the former Lions prop.

“It’s not being disrespectful to the Ospreys because they had a clear gameplan and stuck to it. But we were the team that played the most rugby but you have to earn the right to play rugby.

“We made too many mistakes. We produced a lot of opportunities, certainly on the edges where we had players over, but didn’t have the skill levels to finish them off on the day.

“Discipline was also a massive factor and the big difference between the two teams.

“The positive was that we produced opportunities but the negative is that we didn’t take them. 

“It was a game where I certainly feel like we left a lot of points out there.

“To play the game we want to play, we need to keep working on our skill-set and keep working at getting better.

“Ultimately it’s about winning games. We talk about playing entertaining rugby but if that’s always losing rugby then it’s not the path we want to go down.”