John Mulvihill was pleased with Cardiff Blues’ seven-try victory over Bedford Blues as they gear up for the start of the Guinness PRO14 season.
Wales’ Capital Region raced into an early 19-0 lead at Goldington Road and never looked back against Mike Rayer’s Championship side, who scored two second-half tries of their own.
It was thorough examination for Mulvihill’s men who kick-off their campaign in two weeks’ time against Southern Kings in South Africa and he was happy with the level of performance.
He said: “We knew coming to Bedford it was going to be a tough game, they are a good Championship team and they use the ball really well so to nil them at half-time was brilliant. We let in a few tries in the second half when we were fatigued but it was a good end-to-end contest for us.
“It was our first game away from home and it was really important that we put in a performance. They started off really well and our set-piece was good in the first half, it was pretty dominant, and we fed off that.
“Bedford use the ball really well and had a big win last weekend. Their younger guys put us under some pressure on the edges and it was good for them to score a couple of tries in front of their home crowd. A lot of people came out, they have good supporters and we had a lot of people travelling from Cardiff, so it was a good afternoon of rugby.
“We have two weeks now to bounce into Kings. We will give the boys a few days to freshen up now, come in Thursday and then have a full 10-day preparation into Kings. A lot of the boys played last week and a lot of them had big minutes today.”
While the game proved a useful hit-out for Cardiff Blues non-Welsh qualified contingent, it also saw Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey, Scott Andrews, Josh Turnbull and Olly Robinson return to action from their summer surgeries.
Mulvihill continued: “They add a lot, the likes of Dace, Gilly, Scott Andrews, they are guys we need in and around the pack, Olly Robinson as well. We have given those guys game time and now we have to build on it.”
Fourteen of the starting XV went into the encounter with first team experience, while there were senior debuts for young guns Ioan Davies, Jamie Hill and Ben Thomas.
All three acquitted themselves well at a sun-kissed Goldington Road with Thomas showing some neat touches and Hill and Davies combining for the final try.
Mulvihill added: “Ioan was really busy and a lot of ball came his way in both attack and defence, and he stood up well. Jamie Hill also stood up really well and it was good to see Ben Thomas play with some of the older players, he doesn’t look out of place at all and will be good for us this year.”