No Splits In Our Camp, Claims Cardiff Coach As Thomas Young Inspires Euro Passage

URC Welsh Shield-winning captain Josh Turnbull of Cardiff. Pic: URC

No Splits In Our Camp, Claims Cardiff Coach As Thomas Young Inspires Euro Passage

By Paul Jones

Thomas Young took a starring role in the absence of his dad as Cardiff beat the Ospreys 38-21 to clinch the Welsh Shield and Heineken Champions Cup qualification in their final URC game.

Director of Rugby Dai Young wasn’t at the Principality Stadium for the Judgement Day showdown having been suspended by the region ahead of the game.

His son Thomas scored two tries and set up another for wing Mason Grady with a sublime one-handed pick-up and kick ahead, while the flanker crossed for a third time only to be denied a hat-trick because of a forward pass.

Defence coach Richard Hodges said: “It was a tough one for Thomas. Obviously it’s his dad involved at the end of the day, so we had a chat and made it 100 per cent ‘We want you to play’.
“He said ‘Yep, I’m not going to turn this down’.

“You could see how much it meant to him. That was probably his release out there. He performed superbly well against esteemed opposition.

“He’s got an X-Factor to his game that not many other forwards have. He’s a class act.”

Cardiff captain Josh Turnbull added: “Thomas was visibly upset in training (on Friday) and it’s going to be emotional for him.

“At the end of the day, that’s his father and there’s always going to be that emotional connection to it. You just have to get around people like him, put an arm around him, be there for him and make sure he’s focused on his job.”

Asked about the atmosphere within the Cardiff camp, Hodges said: “The proof is in the pudding with the performance the boys put together.

“Anybody that wants to point the finger about a split in the camp or the boys not performing towards the end of the season is talking rubbish.

“Have the players delivered the messages the coaches wanted this week? Absolutely. Have they shown how tight knit they are as a group? Absolutely. That’s what I think we should focus on.”

Backs Max Llewellyn and Grady both crossed, along with Young, as Cardiff took a 24-0 half-time lead, with the openside going over to seal the bonus point and prop Rhys Carre adding a fifth late on after the Ospreys had come into the game with front row tries from Sam Parry, Gareth Thomas and Dewi Lake.

In the opening Welsh derby fixture on Judgement Day, the Dragons claimed their first BKT URC victory since October by beating the Scarlets 31-14.

Centre Steff Hughes secured the bonus point late on against his former team, with flanker Taine Basham named Player of the Match.

Following the last round of league matches, we now know the make-up of the quarter-finals on the weekend of May 5-6 and the route to the title.

Table-topping Leinster will take on the Cell C Sharks in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, with the winners of that tie progressing to a semi-final against whoever comes out on top in the Scotstoun showdown between Glasgow Warriors and Munster.

Then, the winners of the all-Irish meeting of Ulster and Connacht in Belfast will face the victors of the Cape Town-clash between South African rivals the DHL Stormers and the Vodacom Bulls.

The semi-finals will be played on the weekend of May 13, with the teams with the highest league seeding in each match having home advantage.

As for the Grand Final, that will take place on Saturday, May 27, with the venue to be confirmed.

Six URC teams are now guaranteed places in the Heineken Champions Cup next season – Shield winners Leinster, DHL Stormers, Glasgow and Cardiff, plus Ulster and Munster.

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