Cardiff determined to make a statement on South Africa trip
Cardiff Rugby boss Dai Young says it will need a nine out of 10 performance from his team to claim a statement BKT United Rugby Championship victory out in South Africa.
The Arms Park side take on the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Sunday and then face the Vodacom Bulls at Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld six days later.
They are determined to make amends for what happened in their last match in the Rainbow Nation eight months ago when they were thumped 40-3 by the Stormers in Cape Town.
“I thought we did really well away to the Lions last season. That’s a game we should have won,” said director of rugby Young.
“But the Stormers really put us to the sword. We were taught a lesson and we are all determined to try and put that right.
“I don’t think we really recovered after that defeat last season. It gave us a real dent in confidence and we weren’t able to turn it around. We are determined for that not to happen again.”
Cardiff have arrived in South Africa having won four of their first seven BKT URC matches which sees them lying sixth in the table as the highest-placed Welsh side.
“We have had a pretty good start to the season and we want to kick on and it’s a real good place to come out and make a statement,” said Young.
“These games are hugely significant. We know exactly what’s coming our way. They come through the front door, not the back door.
“We all know what a massive challenge it is and we know if you are not in the right place you can get a good thumping out here. But, if we are in the right place, we can make a real statement. That’s what we are talking about doing.
“These are quality teams. Seven out of ten won’t be good enough for us on the weekend, we need to be nine out of ten, each individual and us as a team. If we do that, then there’s no reason why we can’t get this result.
“We have come out here in real good spirits and we are determined to take something back home with us, regards point.
“The boys are in the right mood to come out here and do a job. They are determined to show what we can do. There was some good stuff in that first block which should give us a bit of confidence and a bit of belief that we can kick on.”
The resolve among the Cardiff players is summed up by the words of Welsh international prop Rhys Carre.
“It’s a massive opportunity for us,” he said. “Our first block has put us in a really good place. We are top of the Welsh Shield, which was our aim at the beginning of the season, so we are where we want to be.
“There is no game we play that we think we can’t win. We showed that at home against the Stormers. We have the confidence in the group to go out on the pitch and put a performance in and we know we can beat any team in the league.”
On Sunday’s first fixture in Durban, the 24-year-old added: “The Sharks haven’t lost at home for five games in a row. They bring a lot of physicality. We have to front up physically and impose our game on them.”
Carre will start at looshead at the Kings Park Stadium, while there is a return at lock for Lopeti Timani, who became the first player to represent a second national team after World Rugby changed its eligibility rules. Having won 12 caps for Australia in 2016 and 2017, he made his Test debut for the land of his birth, Tonga, against England 12 months ago.
There’s also a comeback from Samoan international centre Rey Lee Lo who has been out with injury since the victory away to the Scarlets in early October.
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