Cardiff Blues boss Dai Young says his side can have no complaints after Friday night’s loss to Munster.
The Blues slipped to a 16-15 defeat and the hands of the league leaders, who moved 17 points clear of the Welsh capital outfit as we head deep into the business end of the season.
And although the Blues were always in the game until the final whistle and were never more than a score behind, Young gave a typically honest assessment of a match in which his side failed to hit top form.
“We can’t complain, really. If (Ronan) O’Gara had kicked his kicks with 10 minutes to go it would have obviously been beyond us,” said Young.
“It was disappointing. We never really played. We didn’t respect the ball well enough and that didn’t allow us to build any real momentum or any real pressure.
“We got turned over something like seven times in the amber zone and gave away something like five penalties there. So it’s always going to be difficult to get any clean pressure or opportunities.
“I thought in the first half we looked like a team that hadn’t played for three weeks. We were missing first up tackles, which is not us. We had two or three people within the defensive system defending differently. We work on a couple of different defensive systems but everybody’s got to do the same and that wasn’t quite happening in the first half. That meant people were falling off first up tackles.
“Second half, we were better defensively but, yet again, our attack wasn’t good enough. Even when we did get over the gain line and get on the front foot, we didn’t respect the ball enough.
“We didn’t hold on to the ball enough to cause them problems and we didn’t convert from what I call the amber zone into the green zone. We had a lot of possession in their half but we didn’t get into their 22 enough.”
The Blues' attack failed to sparkle against Munster
Last weekend’s narrow loss was the sixth time in domestic and European competition that the Blues had been beaten by less than 10 points and the fifth time they finished within a single score of the opposition.
It’s been a frustrating pattern for a Blues side who haven’t crossed the whitewash as often as they’d have liked this term, with seven of the League’s 12 teams enjoying a higher tally in the tries for column.
“I’m on record as saying we’re not scoring enough tries,” added Young.
“If you score enough tries, you get that little bit of a buffer and that hasn’t happened for us this year.
“We won a lot of games last year by narrow margins. This year it’s going the other way. It’s not a massive swing but it’s a swing that means we’re putting ourselves under pressure.
“It’s a little bit of the story of the whole season, but as I’ve said to the players, we haven’t really got time to feel sorry for ourselves. Yes, we’re disappointed and it’s got to hurt but, at the end of the day, we’ve got to be better next week.”