Cardiff Rugby director of rugby Dai Young was satisfied to finish the pool stage of the EPCR Challenge Cup with a home draw in the Round of 16, although he recognised that their final position of third in Pool A could have been better.
The Welsh side dropped out of the top two after suffering their first defeat of the EPCR campaign by a 37-24 margin at CA Brive last Saturday.
However, while disappointed by his side’s performance in the first half in France, when they slid 17-3 behind, Young was glad to be in the knockout stages and to have a home game against Sale Sharks.
“We’ve got a home draw, which is pleasing and if we had finished in the top two, then we potentially had two home draws if we progressed,” he said.
“But we would have settled for getting out of the group and into the last 16, so we have to be happy with that.
“I always felt this was going to be a tough game, but we made it tougher than it should have been.”
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— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) January 22, 2023
Cardiff entered their final pool stage tie on the back of a hat-trick of bonus-point wins, but there was never any sign of a fourth at Stadium de Brive.
“We didn’t really cause them any problems,” Young said. “We didn’t fire any shots of our own and went in at half-time 17-3 down – and a little bit fortunate to only be 17-3 down.
“So, we talked about field position and not playing too deep in the second half. Once we got field position, playing with a bit more intent and being a bit more direct for half an hour, we were excellent.
“We got our noses in front and then started to play too much, which is disappointing. We should have just stuck to the blueprint, which gave us success.
“I’m disappointed with our game management in the last 10 minutes. We just needed to make it simple. We took a few quick taps inside our own 22, which I don’t quite understand. It’s something we need to talk about and take learnings from. Ultimately, it ended up a two-score game.”