Dai Young praise for Benetton after Cardiff’s quarter-final exit
Cardiff’s director of rugby Dai Young called Benetton “a very good team” after they made history by becoming the first Italian side to reach a European semi-final with their 27-23 home win over the Welsh outfit in the EPCR Challenge Cup quarter-final.
Young believes the Italians could go on to cause problems for other teams as they prepare for their historic trip to Toulon in the last four later this month.
“They are a very good team, and they will cause lots of problems for many sides. They’ve enjoyed some fantastic wins over top teams out here,” said Young.
“We were in that game right until the last minute. I’m proud of the players and we definitely have a lot of build on.
“We’re all disappointed with the loss, but I’m not disappointed with the effort. We were under lots of pressure for the first 20 minutes and found a way to stay in the game.
“We scrambled very well and got ourselves right back in it with a couple of scores. We got our noses in front, but it was always going to be a tough ask.
“We knew this was going to be a tough place to come and that we’d have to be right on the money for 80 minutes. We weren’t quite as good as last week, but we weren’t too far away.
“It was a game of real fine margins, and we had a couple of opportunities in the last five minutes when we could have sneaked over to make the result oh so different, but we didn’t.”
In the end it was a juggling try from England Sevens star Marcus Watson that clinched the game for Benetton. His 70th-minute score put the Italians back in front in a game in which the lead changed hands four times.
Watson was given a run into the left corner by another of the home try-scorers, fullback Rhyno Smith, and initially fumbled his pass in the wet conditions before grabbing hold of the ball and diving in. The other try-scorer was man of the match Michele Lamaro, the Italian national team captain.
Cardiff would have faced a repeat of their 2010 Challenge Cup final against Toulon had they made it through. They would also have joined fellow Welsh region the Scarlets in the semi-finals.
“I’m disappointed for the boys because lots of effort had gone into the game, but it just got away from us. I’m happy with the commitment, effort and some of the rugby we played,” added Young.
“Hopefully, we can keep building on the last couple of performances. These are the standards we have set ourselves and I’d like to finish with two big performances, and we’ll see where that takes us.“
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