It was a Welsh derby to savour for John Mulvihill as he watched his Cardiff Blues side battled back to secure a comfortable Guinness PRO14 victory over the Dragons.
The Newport-based outfit got off to a flying start at Rodney Parade and opened up a 12-point lead following a dominant opening 20 minutes.
Cardiff Blues worked their way into the encounter and Owen Lane crossed before half-time with a superb finish.
Kristian Dacey rumbled over at the back of a driving lineout after the break and Lane dived over for a second to secure the victory.
The Blues pushed for a bonus-point try and would have been disappointed not to cap the hard-fought victory with a maximum points haul.
However the Rodney Parade win made it seven on the bounce against the Dragons and Mulvihill was delighted with a third straight PRO14 win.
Mulvihill said: “It was fantastic and another different (type) of game as well. Against Munster we were physically dominant and against the Cheetahs we lost our way a little bit but in the last 15 we were really good. Tonight we started a bit slow but from 20-80 minutes we won 23-3.
“We imposed ourselves on a team but it just took us a bit longer to get going. The first six penalties went against us, we were giving them field position and inviting them into our half, which you can’t do.
“At half-time the message was simple. Do not panic, it’s a one-try game, win the arm-wrestle in the middle of the field and get down their end
“We kicked to the right areas, we put them under enormous pressure and we knew if we could build on that pressure they would fold.
“We moved the ball quite well and it was really good to see the forwards dominate again and get the maul try, which is something they have been working on and maybe didn’t have in the first weeks of the completion.
“Our strength is to move the ball and that is what we have to do, keep moving the ball and keep playing. You set your platform at the set-piece and the scrum didn’t go backwards at any stage. It’s a good reward for the pack.”
Lane received plenty of plaudits following his two-try performance and Mulvihill was also happy with the impact his replacements made when called into action.
He said: “That first one he did brilliantly well to get the ball down, the second one he carried his momentum. He is a big, powerful runner and we just need to get the ball to him a bit more and he needs to get involved a bit more.
“Credit also to our bench. We have a bit of a luxury of being able to bring on Rhys Gill and Dillon Lewis two international front-rowers, you have Olly Robinson who is a great player, Macauley Cook who has great experience… Tomos Williams is an international nine, Jarrod Evans on the field and Garyn Smith.
“It makes a big difference to bring that kind of quality onto the field.”
The victory sees Cardiff Blues climb to third in Conference A, just one point behind the Ospreys in second and eight adrift of the pace-setting Glasgow Warriors.
Attention now turns to the Heineken Champions Cup, where they face the Warriors, but first it is a trip to face Lyon.
Mulvihill added: “We wanted to make sure we finished this block strong. We went to hell and back in the first three weeks and were disappointed but from those games we got four bonus-points and they were vital.
“We are up the ladder now and looking good and we can take some of this momentum into Europe.”
Cardiff Blues face Glasgow Warriors at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday, October 21. Ticket are available now by calling 029 20 302030 or clicking here.