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Young aims to cement top four finish

Guinness PRO12 Editor

28 Apr 2011

Cardiff Blues director of rugby Dai Young is hoping his side can continue their winning run against the Newport Gwent Dragons on Friday to secure a place in the Magners League Play-Offs.

The Blues have won the last eight clashes between the Welsh rivals and know a bonus-point victory will cement a top-four finish.

But the capital city region have struggled to hit full stride this season and they face a rejuvenated Dragons outfit who have lost just twice at home this term.

"The Dragons have a tremendous attitude and work their socks off for each other. We have to match their attitude, hunger and desire," said Young.

"If we do that, we have the quality to make a difference. But quality has to be underpinned by attitude and work rate."

Former Wales and Lions prop Young admits it has been a difficult season and is all too aware that his backline have failed to fire on all cylinders.

The Blues have only bagged three try-scoring bonus points and have scored less tries than any other side in the top eight, statistics Young knows will need to improve if his men are to lift a first Celtic crown.

"This season has been frustrating because as a coach you always want to keep improving," added Young.

"Something that has been apparent here all year is that, although our approach work is good at times, our finishing off has let us down and we haven't scored enough tries.

"But we have won two more games than the other teams going for fourth place. Rugby is all about results.

"I'd love us to win with more style but if I said I was more concerned with performances rather than results I'd be criticised.

"Last season we probably had five or six players that hit outstanding form after Christmas. It hasn't been quite the same this year. I don't think we've hit the same heights individually or collectively.

"But we're fourth and I want us to cement our place there on Friday."

Young has been impressed by the progress the Men of Gwent have made since Darren Edwards took the helm from Paul Turner earlier this year. But he is confident that if the Blues win the battle at the breakdown they will also secure the win they so desperately want.

"The Dragons are trying to play a more expansive game than in previous years.

"But if you look at their win over the Ospreys three of their tries came from turnovers.

"That's something we've talked about this week –  we can't turn over ball and give them opportunities.

"Rodney Parade will be a tough place to go but they haven't beaten us since 2006."