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Jenkins remains positive about Cardiff Blues A's development

Age Grade & Academy | 2nd September 2019


Gethin Jenkins was pleased to see an improved team performance from his side during Saturday’s defeat to Ulster A.

After a heavy loss to defending champions Leinster A in the opening game of the Celtic Cup campaign, the young Blues side travelled to Belfast to take on an Ulster side, who had sealed victory over Scarlets a week earlier.

Despite the 32-5 scoreline at the Northern Irish capital, the visitors showed plenty of promise in various aspects of the game, and could count themselves unlucky not to put more points on the board.

The former Cardiff Blues captain was frustrated by individual errors which led to Ulster scores, but believes his side showed character to play positive rugby in the final quarter.

“I don’t feel the scoreline reflected the way we played, and it was a big improvement for us compared to last week,” said the former Wales international.

“We went out there for the first half, playing against the wind and against the river slope, and came in at half time 11-0, where it could’ve been 11-3 or 11-8. 

“But I can’t fault the effort from the boys but we came up short and conceded some soft tries due to some individual mistakes.

“We’ve only been together for two weeks, so mistakes like that can be quite frustrating when we’ve worked hard on getting a structure in place.

“We had a poor try conceded just after half time and that probably took the life out of us.

“We struggled to get back into the game from that point until the final 15 minutes, which was obviously too late.

“There was a chance to express yourself when the game was gone, and similar to last week, that’s where the character came through.

“But like we said, we can’t fault the effort and some boys, who play in the Premiership week-in, week-out, really put their hands up and really performed.

“We had a chat in the changing room and said, while there was improvements but we know there’s a long way to go in this seven week block to achieve any victories.”

The Blues’ only score of the game came with 10 minutes remaining, as Dale Stuckey linked up with Dafydd Smith to touch down for a wonderful try.

Jenkins is excited by the individual talent in his side and believes the experience of travelling away with be invaluable to the younger members of the squad.

He added: “It was a great try to score to finish the game off, but the game was gone, which is the disappointing thing.

“We know the individual talents that some of these boys have got but it’s about expressing that as much as they can on the field.

“It’s a good trip for experience, and it’s always tough to go away for two nights and getting used to the preparation.

“With a late kick off, you have to remain professional with your preparation throughout the day and there are also boys in here who are not used to the speed of these games.

“The main purpose of this is to help boys make a step up from Premiership and have a platform in between Premiership and regional rugby, and it will take some adapting.”