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Young urges Cardiff to fire more attacking shots against Dragons

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Dai Young has urged his Cardiff side to fire more attacking shots as they prepare to welcome Dragons RFC to the capital for a fiery BKT United Rugby Championship Welsh derby on Saturday (KO 5.15pm).

With a total of 215 tackles completed, the Blue and Blacks showed plenty of defensive tenacity to claim an away win over Scarlets last week, as they resisted a late comeback effort from the hosts.

Young wants Cardiff to continue to show their fight for the jersey but hopes they will have more opportunities to show what they can do with ball-in-hand.

“We’re a bit battered and bruised, but we’re doing it with a smile on our faces and that’s the important thing,” said the Director of Rugby.

“It was a real tough game but we showed a lot of togetherness, a lot of team spirit and a lot of pride in the jersey, because that’s a game we could’ve easily lost.

“We had our backs against the wall for big parts of the game so it was a performance to be proud of. The attitude was excellent.

“We didn’t get much opportunity to play a lot of rugby as we didn’t have the ball for big parts of the game, and obviously what you don’t want to do is make more than 200 tackles in a game because that’s unsustainable.

“So as pleased as we were with the performance and the result, going into the Dragons game we want to fire a lot more shots than we actually fired on the weekend and really take the game to them.

“That means that our set piece is going to have to be top draw, the tackle area is always huge against the Dragons and is something they really attack.

“We’re going to have to be really accurate to get into a position where we can play the game that we want to play because certainly what we don’t want to be doing again is making over 200 tackles because the dam will eventually burst.

“There was no lack of spirit, no lack of pride and everybody chucked everything into it. What we need is consistency in that and that’s what we need week-after-week.

“That has to be something that becomes part and parcel of our DNA. We’ve talked about it, and I thought we had it against Munster.

“We got steamrolled against Glasgow and we couldn’t handle their physicality, which meant we were always on the back foot. We couldn’t control the speed of the game and it quickly got away from us.

“Against the Lions, I thought it was a game we should have won. In the first half we should have been comfortable, but once they got their noses in front, they got the momentum and it was very hard for us to turn it around with their physicality.

“So I’m pleased with the performance but we need to back that up on a consistent basis.”

While Cardiff head into Saturday’s encounter with 13 consecutive league wins over their east Wales rivals, only five points have separated the sides across the last four meetings.

Young is braced for another tough encounter against the Dragons and knows his side must be at their best to secure the result.

The former Wales prop added: “We spoke about the Scarlets game being physical, but I think this game will be up there, if not even more physical again. 

“One thing you can always say about Dragons is that they roll their sleeves up and chuck themselves into every contact area. In every game we’ve played against them there’s been nothing in it except a couple of points here and there.

“We’ve come on the right side of those victories but we could’ve quite easily lost as well.

“So there’s nothing between us and it’s going to be very much a case of whoever turns up on the day.

“We’re expecting another tight game. Any of the Welsh teams can beat each other on any day. I don’t think there’s much between any of us.

“We got embarrassed against Scarlets last year, they were far too strong for us. Against the Dragons we were probably good for the win at home but away, at the end of the season, it was a game that we could’ve easily lost.

“It was one kick right at the end that was the difference, so there was nothing in that game and I don’t see much being in this game either.

“We want to keep the same spirit in defence, that’s the first thing, but you don’t want to be defending anywhere near as much as we were last week.”

Tickets for Cardiff Rugby versus Dragons RFC are available now. Call 029 20 302030 or click here to purchase yours today.

Cardiff v Dragons will be celebrating the superb work done by the Cardiff Rugby Community Foundation, who use the power and values of sport to INSPIRE, ENGAGE and IMPROVE opportunities for all people within our community. For more information on how to support the Foundation, please click HERE

Content & Images from – Cardiff Rugby


URC

Blair: “Collectively, we were just off it.”

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The Italian side held on for a 24-17 win with Rhyno Smith’s late score the difference in a back-and-forth battle at Stadio Monigo.

“Yeah, it’s definitely disappointing,” said Blair. “We knew this was going to be a really tough game with the team that they picked.

“Benetton were excellent and managed the game really well after the red card. They were really smart. But I said to the players at half-time that the game was still in our hands.”

Benetton went down to 14 men in the 10th minute when debutant Matteo Minozzi was sent off for dangerous play after his boot – in the process of gathering a high ball – made contact with Wes Goosen’s face, leaving the winger with a nasty cut.

Edinburgh failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage however, with Benetton proving too shrewd in defence despite being a man down.

“We’ve seen it before, though, with red cards and how it can really galvanise a team. It brings emotion into it and gives them that backs-to-the-wall type of mentality,” continued Blair.

“But we’ve got to be better than that. We’ve got to see that as an opportunity. I think we waited and thought that (red card) was going to be the thing that won us game.

“But that wasn’t the case. It’s your physicality, your relentlessness nature of attack, persistence in defence, your smarts – that’s what wins you games.  Collectively, we were just off it.

“I don’t think you can put it down to one thing. We always speak about what we want the perception of us to be from others.

“That perception is around the ruthless and clinical nature of our attack, as well as physicality in defence. We didn’t get that today.”

Edinburgh finish this block of fixtures without its Scotland internationalists having won two out of three road matches, with Saturday’s defeat to Benetton ending a three-match winning streak.

The capital side now turn their attention to Munster this coming Friday night (2 December, kick-off 7.35pm) in a match-up that sees Edinburgh return home to DAM Health Stadium for the first time in over a month.

“This period is an opportunity for the club. This group of players won away against Zebre and Cardiff, so there’s been some real positives.

“This was a tough game to come back to after the break for a few weeks. We were just off it in a couple of areas and that’s something we need to fix moving forward to next week.”

Content & Images from – Edinburgh Rugby


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Timani returns to fitness as Cardiff name side to face Sharks

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Lopeti Timani returns to the Cardiff line-up for the opening clash of their BKT United Rugby Championship double-header in South Africa.

With the Blue and Blacks kicking off their tour in Durban against Cell C Sharks on Sunday (KO 4.10pm), Tongan international Timani, who missed the home clash against Edinburgh last month, takes his place in the second row alongside Rory Thornton.

Captain Josh Turnbull will wear the number six jersey, with Thomas Young and James Botham completing the back row, while Rhys Carré, Liam Belcher and Dmitri Arhip form the front row. 

Behind the pack Jarrod Evans and Lloyd Williams continue their partnership at half back. Rey Lee-Lo returns to the midfield for the first time since the away win over Scarlets, linking up with Max Llewellyn in the centre.

Finally, having made his URC debut in South Africa last season, Theo Cabango is again given the nod on the wing. Jason Harries occupies the opposite touchline, while Ben Thomas slots in at 15.

Cardiff director or rugby, Dai Young said: “We’re looking forward to testing ourselves against a quality team in the Sharks on Sunday.

“We were disappointed with our last game out here last season so we have plenty of motivation to put things right and we’ve shown we are heading in the right direction and we want to build upon that.  

“It is important now that we keep that momentum and confidence and show we have learnt and developed from last season.

“We know what to expect from the Sharks and they are formidable at home but we are in a good place. We will need to perform at our best and if we do that then there is no reason why we cannot make a statement.”

Cardiff have named a six-two split on the bench, with youngsters Ellis Bevan and Mason Grady providing cover for the back-line.

Seb Davies is passed fit to feature, having been on the sidelines since mid-October, while there are further fire-power from the likes of Kristian Dacey, Corey Domachowski and James Ratti.

Cardiff will also take on Vodacom Bulls during their time in the Rainbow Nation, before turning their attention to Europe and the festive derbies.

Cardiff: Ben Thomas; Jason Harries, Rey Lee-Lo, Max Llewellyn, Theo Cabango; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Carré, Liam Belcher, Dmitri Arhip, Lopeti Timani, Rory Thornton, Josh Turnbull (capt.), Thomas Young, James Botham

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Corey Domachowski, Will Davies-King, Seb Davies, Gwilym Bradley, James Ratti, Ellis Bevan, Mason Grady

Unavailable for selection: Dillon Lewis, Josh Navidi, Taulupe Faletau, Tomos Williams, Rhys Priestland, Owen Lane, Willis Halaholo, Josh Adams, Liam Williams, Matthew Morgan, Jacob Beetham.

Content & Images from – Cardiff Rugby


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Internationals return for Munster interpro at Thomond Park

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Six Connacht players who were with the Ireland squad in November have come into the starting lineup for tomorrow’s interpro with Munster in Limerick (k/o 7.35pm).
 
Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Cian Prendergast, Caolin Blade and Bundee Aki are all named in the starting lineup, as the squad aim to make it three straight wins in the BKT URC.
 
Denis Buckley joins Heffernan and Bealham in the front row while Josh Murphy is selected alongside Thornbury in the second row. Prendergast is named at blindside flanker, with Conor Oliver at openside and Jarrad Butler at number 8.
 
Captain Jack Carty continues at out-half while Tom Farrell partners Aki in the centre. The side is completed by wingers Alex Wootton and Byron Ralston, and full-back John Porch.
 
On the bench there’s a notable return for Shane Delahunt, who has recovered from an 8-month injury layoff for a potential first appearance of the season. The management team have opted for a 6:2 split, meaning Niall Murray, Oisin Dowling and Paul Boyle could all be called upon.
 
Commenting on the team selection, Director of Rugby Andy Friend says:
 
“Everyone had ten days off after the Ospreys game which I think was needed for coaches and players. Now that we have everyone back it’s all eyes on Munster for the start of an important ten week block for us, and we’re well positioned for these games going forward.
 
Munster away at Thomond Park is never an easy task but I thought we were close last year and the previous year we won there. You can’t just rock up to Thomond and think you’re going to win, you’ve got to work your backside off and bring an element of physicality along with accuracy in what you are doing”

 
CONNACHT RUGBY MATCHDAY 23 VS MUNSTER RUGBY
Saturday 26th November, 19:35 @ Thomond Park
 
Number/Name/Caps
15. John Porch (66)
14. Byron Ralston (6)
13. Tom Farrell (83)
12. Bundee Aki (119)
11. Alex Wootton (37)
10. Jack Carty (184) (C)
9. Caolin Blade (154)
1. Denis Buckley (215)
2. Dave Heffernan (171)
3. Finlay Bealham (173)
4. Josh Murphy (5)
5. Gavin Thornbury (68)
6. Cian Prendergast (33)
7. Conor Oliver (47)
8. Jarrad Butler (100)

Replacements
16. Shane Delahunt (117)
17. Peter Dooley (5)
18. Jack Aungier (38)
19. Niall Murray (40)
20. Oisín Dowling (31)
21. Kieran Marmion (215)
22. Conor Fitzgerald (57)
23. Paul Boyle (79)

Images & Content from – Connacht Rugby


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