United Rugby Championship: Cardiff boss Dai Young frustrated with poor performance in Scarlets loss

Dai Young Cardiff director of rugby 2022 -.jpg Credit: Alamy
Dai Young Cardiff director of rugby 2022 -.jpg Credit: Alamy

Cardiff boss Dai Young was frustrated after his side’s 28-22 loss to rivals Scarlets in the United Rugby Championship on Saturday.

It was a poor start for the hosts, who were down 19-3 after only 30 minutes. However, the team did make a charge to try and make a comeback.

However, tries from Taulupe Faletau, Rhys Carre and Josh Adams were not enough to catch the Scarlets, who kept themselves ahead through the experienced boot of Leigh Halfpenny.

Poor errors

Young believes his team’s errors were uncharacteristic and was disappointed that Cardiff did not pitch up mentally or physically on the night.

“Both physically and mentally, we weren’t at our best today. Uncharacteristically we had a lot of errors, a lot of handling errors, which we’d taken out of our game for big parts of the season,” said Young.

“I don’t want to take anything away from the Scarlets, I thought they were the better team. They were in more control than we were.

“We showed in patches how threatening we can be, but we lacked control, certainly for the first 25 to 30 minutes.

“We struggled to get past three or four phases, and defensively, which has been rock-solid all year for us, we were very much soaked up.

“It was disappointing because physically and mentally we weren’t at our best.

“The scrums was an area where we were clearly on top, but one or two went against us which is surprising when you’re on top.

“But we’ve got to look at ourselves, there’s no point looking at anything else. We had to start better, but we didn’t.”

He added: “We were very careless with the ball and we didn’t have our normal bite in defence. The line-outs creaked early on but got better as the game went on, but it all rolled into one big ball of a lack of control.

“It gave them easy field position. We got ourselves back in the game in the second half, but gave away a couple of penalties, and Halfers doesn’t miss too many of them to be fair to him.

“It was scrappy, with a lot of mistakes in the game. As I said, I thought Scarlets were the better team but I don’t think they were in total control.

“There weren’t many examples of stringing five, six, seven, eight phases together. So it was scrappy, but these derbies on occasions are.

“We’re disappointed and especially disappointed to lose at home in front of a big crowd but more so that we didn’t play anywhere near our best.

“If you play near your best and you get beaten, so be it, but I don’t think we were anywhere near that tonight.”

There were question marks over Scarlets’ third try of the evening through Johnathan Davies as the veteran appeared to be offside in the build-up, but a TMO review awarded the try.

Focus on what can be controlled

Young refused to blame the loss on the controversial decision and would rather focus on what the team can change.

“As I say, in reality I don’t think we had many calls going our way. But we’ve got to look at ourselves,” he explained.

“It would be quite weak of me to say that was the reason we lost.

“We had a tough call there, to be quite honest with you, but I’m more interested in looking at ourselves and why we weren’t as good as we’ve been over the last six to eight weeks.

“But that’s certainly one, when the TMO came in, I didn’t expect it to be give so it did surprise me.

“We’ve trained well all week, but there’s not much between the teams in this league.

“What I keep saying to the players is that if we’re not somewhere near our best, then we won’t win. It’s as simple as that. I don’t think any team in this league can afford to be 10 or 15 per cent off their best, and we were tonight.

“We could’ve still got back in it at the end, but that would’ve been a case of nicking it rather than deserving it.

“I’m disappointed that we lacked control and lacked the bite that we’ve had in previous weeks.

“But we’ve got to dust ourselves off and respond next week.”

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