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Second half discipline was vital in comeback over Benetton - Turnbull

Blues News | 25th February 2020


Josh Turnbull says his side’s improved discipline in the second half was vital as they turned secured an impressive comeback against Benetton Rugby on Sunday.

John Mulvihill’s side trailed by 12-point at the break, despite Jason Harries’ first half try.

But they bounced back in fashion after the interval, as tries from Seb Davies, Ryan Edwards, Garyn Smith and Lewis Jones secured the maximum points for the hosts at Cardiff Arms Park.

Turnbull, who was named man of the match against the Italian outfit, admit his side were under-par in the opening 40 minutes, but praised the way they turned it around to come away with the bonus point win.

“We made it hard for ourselves in the first half and it was difficult at times. We were probably kicking in the wrong areas of the field and giving them possession, which caused us problems at times,” said the Welsh international.

“We corrected that in the second half, kicked a little bit more to our terms and put in some more contestable kicks.

“We put the pressure on them and won some possession back from those situations, which allowed us to build even more pressure on their defence.

“In the first half, we played a lot of rugby and played a lot of attacking rugby, but maybe not in the right areas of the field.

“It was about putting that possession into the right areas of the fields so we could execute and come away with points. We did that quite well in the second half to score some decent tries.

“We knew we could put the pressure back on them and put points on the board once we scored that first try in the second half.

“Guys in the back three like Hallam [Amos], Ryan and Jason were outstanding and the half backs controlled things really well in the second half.

“We were able to come away with a good win in the end.

“After a game like that, you sometimes forget about the first half because you’re focused on the fact that we came away with a decent win in the end.

“We made it hard work for ourselves. In the first half, we gifted them possession, turned too much ball over and gave away too many penalties.

“The penalty count was eight to one compared between the first and second half and giving away that many penalties in the first half was never going to give us an easy ride.

“To only give one away in the second half shows what we’re capable of doing. Last week against Connacht we got a little bit lost at times and we were far better this week.”

The victory sees the Blues move within a point of fourth placed Connacht, as they remain in the race for an end-of-season play-off spot.

With a trip to Conference B leaders Edinburgh this weekend, Turnbull believes his side can travel to the Scottish capital with confidence but is fully aware of the threats posed by Richard Cockerill’s side.

“It’s quite tight between all of us, especially after Connacht lost this weekend.

“We need to go up to Edinburgh this weekend so we’ll be working hard over the coming days.

“It’s a short turnaround for us of only five days and there’s a few banged up bodies so we’ll also look after ourselves.

“As long as our gameplan is right. We’ve been doing alright up there in previous years so it will be important for us to bounce into there this weekend and be excited about it.

“They’ve been good this season and they have something that works for them. 

"They have a decent forward pack and backs who like to play when they get on the front foot.

“They also have a big driving line-out, and that’s something that Scotland pride themselves on. 

“We’ll have to work hard and if we’re switched on mentally then we’ll be in a good place.”