Dai Young will unleash his new signings and international stars against Munster in the BTK United Rugby Championship opener on Saturday.
Cardiff host the Irish outfit at the Arms Park (3.05pm) in what promises to be a star-studded occasion.
The director of rugby highlighted the “fantastic 23” at his disposal and is hoping for a bumper crowd.
It will be the first opportunity he has had to field new signings Lopeti Timani, Thomas Young, Taulupe Faletau and Liam Williams and the quartet are all in line for their Arms Park debut.
Young said: “There’s no reason why we can’t see a fantastic 23 going out on the weekend. We haven’t got too many injuries.
“It’s only Navs [Josh Navidi] that we’re missing really. It’s been well documented that he’s not available for selection.
“We will certainly see our new signings out on the pitch at some point on Saturday.
“They’ve been fantastic in training. You can obviously see the obvious quality in them in-and-around training but as well as that they’ve played in other environments and played at the top level in other environments.
“We would like to think they’re going to bring a little bit of something different off the field as well and help that leadership team grow as well.
“We’ve been really pleased with what the new recruits have shown us so far and it would be great for them to really show what they can do in a Cardiff jersey come Saturday.”
Munster have won the last six encounters against Cardiff, including two at the Arms Park. The Blue and Blacks last victory, the 37-13 victory at the Arms Park in September 2018.
But Young has been pleased with the progress made during pre-season and believes they can boot the disappointment of the 2021-22 campaign into touch.
He expects a full-blooded encounter and he is comfortable with the team’s preparations despite last weekend’s final pre-season friendly against Zebre Parma being cancelled following the passing of HRH Queen Elizabeth II.
He continued: “There’s been a lot of hard work that’s gone into pre season, trying new things, new combinations, but it’s always the telling time when you play the first game. And you’re not going to get a better fixture to get excited about than Munster at home.
“Since I’ve been here we’ve pushed them close a couple of times and not actually got on the right side of the result. So it would be fantastic really.
“I expect us to be hugely competitive against them and we’re at home and I’m confident we can get the result, as long as we play something like we can play.
“I’m confident that we’ll hit the ground running. Obviously in an ideal world we would have had a game last week against Zebra but we understand why that didn’t take place and we’re fully supportive of that.
“We had a little bit of an opposed session because they’d been training at the Arms Park all week – using our weights in the tunnel, in the Matrix Shed and been out on the pitch.
“It just made a bit of sense. Although it was two separate training sessions, we did join up and had a few scrums against each other, a few line-outs and a couple of options really.
“It was nowhere near a game or nothing that would even look like a game really but I’d like to think we got a bit out of it.
“It’s always a little bit different, the first game, because every team will be trying to change something they’ve done.
“Where Munster have caught us in the last couple of seasons, is I think we’ve matched them right across the field until they went to Plan B. Plan B is when they become very tight and set piece orientated.
“They pretty much ground us down in that area. So I think we’re expecting them to play a little bit more of an expansive game to start off with but if things are not going to plan for them they’ll always revert back to the set piece and a kick pressure game.
“What we can expect this season and what we’re hoping for, time will tell on that. But what we want is the consistency of performances which we shown against Leinster and Glasgow.
“That’s the type of performances we need on a consistent basis. What we don’t want to see is some of the poorer performances obviously.
“We had some real highs and we had some real low lows [in 21/22] so we’ve worked hard this pre season. We know we have to be better at set piece, we know that there’s no disguising that.
“We’ve worked hard on that and we know we have to be a bit more penetrative with the ball, we can’t play too laterally and we’ve worked on that. We know we have to be better in defence so to be quite honest I wasn’t happy with any areas last season and that’s not just myself – it’s myself, the coaching team and the players.
“We know that we didn’t perform anything like we wanted to last season. We haven’t forgot that but as far as we’re concerned we got a bit of a clean slate now and it’s how we start.”
The visit of His Majesty King Charles III to Cardiff on Friday, has seen the fixture, which was originally scheduled for that evening, moved to Saturday evening.
That change in schedule has also resulted in a rare Arms Park double header, with the Rags opening the day when they host Merthyr (KO 11.45am) before the first team take on the visitors from Ireland later in the day.
Young believes an opportunity to enjoy both of the capital club’s sides should produce a memorable afternoon at the Arms Park, with the stars of today and tomorrow on show.
The former prop explained: “I’d like to think it [the delay to the match] hasn’t had an effect on the squad. At the end of the day it’s a 15 hour delay. That’s all it is really.
“We’ll back our prep. We haven’t changed any of the preparations this week, and we’ll go into the game fully prepared, with no excuses.
“Everyone has seen that it was a new venture last season with Cardiff RFC being our second team, for want of the better word, and a real pathway for our junior players to come through from the academy to play men’s rugby.
“To play well in that environment with good seasoned semi pros will only add to their development and hopefully come to the next step, which is stepping into the Cardiff Rugby first team.
“We’ve seen that the likes of Theo Cabango, Jacob Beetham and Mason Grady have obviously done it and the pathway is really working.
“They had a fantastic season last season, winning the cup, and they’re hoping for a similar season again.
“It will be good for me to see them play as well because we don’t get much time to see each other play because of the schedule. I’m looking forward to that.
“The double-header will be a great occasion for all the Cardiff supporters to come down, support Cardiff RFC first and watch the first team after that.”
Tickets For Cardiff v Munster are available now by calling 029 20 302030 or clicking here.
Glasgow destroy Cardiff with 8 try victory
Eight tries and a half-century of points saw Glasgow Warriors open their BKT United Rugby Championship account in style, earning a 52-24 victory over Cardiff at Scotstoun this evening.
Player of the Match George Horne grabbed 17 points, with a brace from Fraser Brown, a try apiece from Zander and Matt Fagerson and scores from Cole Forbes, Thomas Gordon and Stafford McDowall accounting for the scoreline.
Straight from the opening kick-off, it was evident that this was a Glasgow Warriors team with one objective in mind. An industrious opening spell from Scott Cummings saw the second-rower heavily involved at the set-piece and in the loose, whilst the speed of thought and foot from Horne kept the Cardiff defence on their toes.
However, it would be the visitors who would open the scoring with a quarter of an hour on the clock, somewhat against the run of play. After a lengthy stoppage due to an ankle injury to Rory Darge that saw the flanker head to hospital for treatment, the Welshmen caught their hosts cold. Max Llewellyn’s break through the middle took Cardiff into the Glasgow 22, before a looping pass from Jarrod Evans put Josh Adams over in the corner. Evans added the conversion, and Cardiff led 7-0.
Glasgow’s response was immediate, and showcased what was to come from Franco Smith’s men. A superb offload from Tom Jordan put Cole Forbes through a gap, who in turn sent Sebastian Cancelliere racing clear. Only an illegal intervention from Thomas Young could prevent the Warriors from scoring, earning the openside a yellow card from referee Chris Busby.
It took the Warriors precisely 45 seconds to make the most of their numerical advantage, and they did it in textbook fashion. Fraser Brown’s lineout was pinpoint accurate to Cummings, before Brown himself burrowed over the line from the rolling maul. Horne converted, and the scores were tied.
Straight from the restart, Smith’s men struck for what could already be a try of the season contender. Identifying the space, Stafford McDowall sent Sione Tuipulotu through a gap, who in turn timed his pass to perfection to send Cancelliere sprinting clear. The Argentinian drew the last man before popping the ball to Forbes, with the full-back outpacing the cover defence to touch down. Horne’s conversion attempt was true, and the Warrior Nation were in full voice.
The noise continued to grow moments later, as the home side crossed for their third try in a nine-minute spell. A superbly executed 50-22 from Tuipulotu gave the Warriors field position, before Zander Fagerson was stopped just inches short of the line. It was left to younger brother Matt to apply the finishing touch, picking up and going down the blindside to barge over the whitewash. A third conversion from Horne took the score to 21-7 after half an hour, and Scotstoun was rocking.
Even a yellow card to Tom Jordan on his first home start couldn’t puncture the home side’s momentum, as Cummings and Kyle Steyn combined to drive the visitors fully 20 metres backwards in a superb defensive shift.
A penalty from Evans was all that Cardiff could muster during the sin bin period, and it would be Glasgow that would finish the half on the front foot. A half-break from Dempsey and a perfectly-timed offload to Horne sent the scrum-half scampering clear, chipping ahead to pin Cardiff on their own try-line. Cummings’ chargedown forced a five-metre scrum in his side’s favour, and after Tuipulotu and Richie Gray went close, Horne himself would snipe over for the classic scrum-half score. Converting his own try for good measure, the Warriors headed back to the changing rooms with a 28-10 lead at the interval.
Failure to deal with sin-binning periods cost us – Young
Dai Young says Cardiff were made to pay for their failure to deal with sin-binning periods after suffering a 52-24 defeat to Glasgow Warriors on Friday.
The hosts scored four of their eight tries while the Blue and Blacks were reduced to 14 men, with Thomas Young and Uilisi Halaholo both spending 10 minutes each in the sin bin.
After a bright start in Scotstoun, where Cardiff took the lead courtesy of a Josh Adams try, the momentum of the game shifted following Young’s sin-binning, leading to a trio of quickfire scores from the hosts.
The Director of Rugby was disappointed with how the yellow cards allowed Glasgow to take control of the encounter, and says it’s vitally important that his side learn the lessons from the defeat.
Young said: “It’s disappointing obviously and the scoreboard is quite ugly when you look at it at the end.
“But I thought we had a really good start. We got our noses in front and we were right in the game.
“Then we had a pretty harsh yellow card against Thomas [Young], but that happens on occasions.
“We certainly didn’t control that 10 minutes the way we wanted to. They scored three tries and 21 points in that period which obviously meant we’d be chasing the game a little bit.
“Another yellow card in the second half, and they scored another try so that’s four tries following yellow cards.
“That’s a big thing that we need to get better at – controlling those periods when we’re down to 14. It will inevitably happen in this game.
“I thought a couple of calls went against us but as the game went on we also controlled the collisions poorly. They started again on top, winning collisions, and once that starts to happen then they’ll get speed of ball and it becomes very hard for us to control them defensively.
“We played good stuff on occasions and left points out there but we’re obviously disappointed to lose by that much.
“We’ve got to learn a lot from it, but ultimately the story of the day was the yellow cards and how we dealt with those periods because they will happen. It doesn’t matter how you play the game, there will be yellow cards.”
Following tries from Adams, Kristian Dacey and Liam Belcher, Cardiff’s hopes of leaving Glasgow with a bonus point were alive in the final 10 minutes, but ultimately left empty handed.
Young called for more composure in the final stages and insists his side must continue to work hard on the training ground as they seek improvements.
The former Wales prop added: “We had opportunities for the bonus point but we were rushing it. We had 10 minutes to score a try but were flapping at it a little bit.
“As I said, we’ve got to try and take the positives out of tonight. The scoreboard is ugly, nobody wants to see that, but there were positives, things we can improve on and things we can do better.
“When we get opportunities we’ve got to be more clinical and got to keep working on our physicality, which is something we knew coming into the season.
“It’s something we struggled with on occasions last season against the better teams, and did win it from parts of the game today, but by the second half we started to lose more and more collisions which meant they controlled the speed of ball.
“They’re too good of a team to be given quick ball.
“You’ll win rugby games and you’ll lose some. We’re not happy with tonight’s performance but what we’ve got to look at is trying to improve every week.
“We will come up against good teams, and tonight that was nigh-on an international team we played against. You don’t get much tougher than that.
“We need to take the positive, build on them and try to take the negatives out of our game.
“Next week is another game where we’re at home. We want to keep building.
“This season is going to go where we’ll win some games and lose some games but our focus can’t change.
“Our focus has to be to build on the things we do well and keep working on things that don’t go well. Hopefully, by doing that, we’ll win more than we lose.”
Roos ready to tear it up
DHL Stormers coach John Dobson is picking his No 8 Evan Roos to make a statement in the defending champions’ Vodacom United Rugby Championship opener against Connacht in Stellenbosch on Saturday.
Kick-off is 14h30 at the Danie Craven Stadium and tickets are available from Webtickets. CLICK HERE to buy your tickets now.
“Evan is chomping to get going. He had an incredible 2021/22 season, which resulted in Springboks Test selection and I know he is amped to put in a performance to make a statement that he will be even better this season,” said Dobson.
“He got a taste of international rugby. He wants more and he knows that the Vodacom URC is his stage to make his on-field statements, individually and most pertinently to the collectiver of the DHL Stormers,” Dobson added.
Roos was the posterboy for the inaugural Vodacom URC, his rampaging carries and dynamic support play dominating the league’s weekly highlights.
A Paarl Boys High prodigy, Roos left Cape Town for the Cell C Sharks after matriculating but was back in Cape Town in 2020.
His skill-set meshed perfectly with the DHL Stormers script and he flourished in a team of gamebreakers.
Partnered with speedster Hacjivah Dayimani and breakdown specialist Deon Fourie, Roos starred in a tenacious back row that pressured rivals in attack and defence, combining skill with speed and a high work rate.
The DHL Stormers recovered from a slow start to win 12 of 18 league matches, scalping Edinburgh, Ulster and the Vodacom Bulls in the playoffs to cap an 11-match win streak with an 18-13 victory in the Cape Town Grand Final.
Roos led the charge and the 22-year-old was rewarded when it came time to dish out league accolades, named the Vodacom United Rugby Championship Player of the Season, Players’ Player of the Season, Fans’ Player of the Season, Next-Gen Player of the Season and he earned a place in the Vodacom URC Dream Team.
In winning Player of the Season, Roos beat off challenges from Vodacom Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee and his teammate Ruan Nortje, Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Vincent Tshituka (Emirates Lions) and Warrick Gelant, another key member of the DHL Stormers’ championship-winning side.
This was just reward for a player who topped the competition statistics for offloads, carries made and tackles broken, while finishing fourth for metres gained, the highest-placed forward.
He also made a lasting impression when he scored a remarkable try in the final, surging headlong through some of the meatiest Vodacom Bulls to score.
The explosive No.8 will be central to the defending champions’ quest to repeat. A pillar of strength up front, Roos combines traditional South African aggression with levels of athleticism more common to a pack from one of the Pacific Island nations. He is a unique talent, rapid and gruff.
While these traits elevated Roos into the national team, the ambitious No.8 will not be content with his first and only Test cap to date – a 46-minute cameo in a Springbok home loss against Wales in July.
For the DHL Stormers faithful, Roos is not only the perfect option at the back of the scrum and line-out, but also the man to power up the Bok pack at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Roos will get his legs churning on Saturday to convert the few who may still doubt his world-class qualities.
Glasgow destroy Cardiff with 8 try victory
Failure to deal with sin-binning periods cost us – Young
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