Cardiff director of rugby, Dai Young talks to groundsman Mark Huston prior to the European Rugby Challenge Cup match between Newcastle Falcons and Cardiff. Pic: Getty Images.

Dai Young Demands Cardiff Take Impressive Euro Form Into Festive Derbies

By Tom Evans

Dai Young has urged his Cardiff players to keep their feet hard down on the pedals and build on their European success by dominating the forthcoming festive derbies.

The Arms Park director of rugby was full of praise for his team after their thumping 47-10 victory away at Newcastle in the European Challenge Cup.

But he has urged them to maintain the momentum in the URC when they make a Boxing Day trip to Rodney Parade to take on a Dragons side who have received plaudits for their performances this season.

Tries from Josh Adams, Rhys Priestland, Owen Lane and Rhys Carre got the job done for the two-time winners against the Falcons, with the bonus point secured in the first half.

And they did not take their foot off the pedal in the second half, a penalty try being followed by a second for Adams and one for Mason Grady.

Priestland also contributed with the boot, converting five of the tries to take his tally for the game to 15.

Newcastle did manage to get a try of their own, Sam Stuart sprinting over at the start of the second half for a try that was improved by Josh Thomas, who also kicked a penalty.

Youbng said: “I thought it was a pretty complete performance from us. We were dominant up front, the scrum went really well and the driving line-out went really well.

 

“We didn’t allow them much platform off their driving line-out, and we won the battle of the gain-line.

“We had some real penetration with our carries, which gave us some speed of ball and we took our opportunities.

“I couldn’t ask much more of them. We were in control for most of the game and we’re really pleased with the performance.

“We did the grunt work first, which was important. Our front five stood up, which is normally the area where everyone chuck stones at us.

“But our front five did a great job in giving us a platform tonight, and we showed what we can do, if we can get some quick ball and penetration.

“We have got dangerous players that can play some real good rugby and cause teams problems.”

Amongst those to impress in Newcastle were try scorer Owen Lane and Player of the Match, Ellis Jenkins, who both made their first competitive outings of the season.

Young says he welcomes the selection headaches created by the strength in depth at his disposal, and believes rotation has benefitted the wider squad.

“Both of them have picked up niggles early on in the season and haven’t really featured much. But they add to our strength-in-depth.

 

“And when you’ve got three derbies coming up, you know you’re going to need your squad. Obviously every game we’re going out to win, but every game we feel that we’ve got to rotate three or four players a game. If you have got strength-in-depth, that makes things a little bit easier.

“What we’ve tried to do over the last six to ten months is grow our squad. I don’t believe in a first team and a second team, I want to try and grow our squad. Along the way, you’re going to get some bumps, and I think we’ve seen some of those bumps last season, which we had to take on the chin.

“But a lot of them guys are youngsters that have played in some of those performances and are now looking more and more comfortable at this level now.

“That’s what happens when you’re trying to grow a squad. Obviously our more senior players will then feel under a bit more pressure so everyone’s fighting for selection, and that makes my job a little bit easier.

 

“But it also gives me some headaches with selection. But I’ve been really thrilled over the last two weeks in this competition.

“We’ve played really well but we’ve got some big games in the derbies coming up and we’re certainly not going to run away with ourselves.

“We’ve rode our luck on a couple of occasions when we’ve played the Dragons, and we’ve just got over the line. On occasions we probably haven’t deserved that. But we’re going to have to be at our best to get something down there.”

 

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