By Paul Jones
Dai Young has told his Cardiff players their shock victory over Leinster must not be a one-off.
Jarrod Evans’ late penalty gave his side a memorable first victory over the URC champions for 12 years as Cardiff won 29-27 at the Arms Park at the weekend.
It came on the same day the Ospreys beat Edinburgh 23-19 and although both opponents were shorn of their Six Nations stars, the results proved the Welsh regions are capable of achieving notable victories when they are also without their international stars.
But Cardiff director of rugby Young believes the challenge for his team is to prove the result was not merely a flash in the pan and for the standards shown to be maintained for the rest of the season.
“It was fantastic and hopefully it can give the squad a lot of confidence,” said Young.
“We haven’t beaten them for 11 years so hopefully this can show the squad that we can move forward.
“But it has put pressure on us to maintain standards, as we’ve spoken about in the changing room.
🗣 Dai Young has challenged his Cardiff team to use Saturday’s stunning URC win over Leinster as a yardstick for performances over the rest of the campaign.https://t.co/T2cEwpRkR0
— Cardiff Rugby (@Cardiff_Rugby) January 30, 2022
“Great, let’s enjoy it, it’s a fantastic win but we’ve set ourselves the standard. The important thing for us is to maintain the standards and show the consistency in performances, home or away.
“If we play to our potential, then it will take a good team to beat us. We’ve shown over the last two games some consistency in our performances.
“They (Leinster) go to everyone in the league and beat them quite comfortably. So, to say we’d have to be at our best is probably an understatement.
“But we were good for it. We got our noses in front but they capitalised on our yellow card.
“They’re an experienced side and we could’ve quite easily folded. But we showed real guts and determination but also stuck to the structure and processes. We then found a way to beat them in the last minute.
“Up front we stood up set piece-wise and the scrum was good. We caught them on the hop a few times on the driving line-outs, leading to good drives and we defended their drives really well.
“It was all about the collisions outside the set piece, and apart from the yellow card period, we matched their collisions. Doing that allows us to slow their ball down and that’s paramount to get the result.”
The Cardiff pack were superb against Leinster.
Josh Turnbull led by example as top ball-carrier , top tackler , and top lineout jumper  as they hit 100% in that area.
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) January 30, 2022
When Ross Byrne landed a perfect kick in the 75th minute it was Leinster who regained the lead at 27-26. Then a penalty for a high tackle on the Leinster 10 metre line gifted Cardiff a chance to strike for glory.
Up stepped Evans and over went the 45 metre kick that raised the roof at the Arms Park and brought the Welsh region their first win over Leinster since February 2011.
Cardiff had gone into the game without a win since 23 October, and missing six of their eight Welsh squad members.
Wayne Pivac released the front row pair, Rhys Carre and Dillon Lewis, to get some extra minutes under their belts, althoug Young started them on the bench.
Young added: “I was really pleased with our physicality on both sides of the ball, but it was also nice to see a lot of youngsters out there as well, experiencing this level of rugby for the first time.
“The big thing, as a team, is that it’s all about learning. You learn as much in defeats as you do in wins.
“We’ve lost a couple of games in the last 10 minutes, but we didn’t panic. We stuck to our processes and didn’t go away from what we spoke about.
“In games gone by, we would’ve tried to over-play in certain areas and maybe give away another penalty in our own half.
“Nobody wants to lose, but the important thing is that you learn from them, and tonight you could see we had learned from those narrow defeats.
“It was a fantastic kick from Jarrod, showing a lot of bottle to get it over. I think he had more than 6,000 people blowing it over with him as well.”