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We paid price for Leicester Tigers defeats - Mulvihill

Blues News | 18th January 2020

John Mulvihill admits his side paid the price for their home defeat to Leicester Tigers as they bowed out of the Challenge Cup, despite a 64-3 win over Calvisano on Saturday.

Tom Hardwick’s last minute penalty at Cardiff Arms Park in November sealed a win for the Tigers, and Wales’ Capital Region couldn’t recover in pool five.

Mulvihill saw his side run in for 10 tries against the Italian outfit on the final day of pool stage action, but a Pau victory in France saw the Blues’ fate sealed.

The Australian says his side didn’t deserve to qualify for the quarter final following their early tournament form, but insists there are positives to take from the campaign.

“We won three out of our six and scored a lot of tries and a lot of points in this competition,” said the head coach.

“There were a few points along the way that let us down and if you only win half your games, then you don’t  deserve to be there at the end, but we’ll be better for it.

“If we’d have taken an extra point out of each game against Leicester, then we would’ve got there. 

“But congratulations to the teams that made the finals, and their season in this competition continues. 

“You have to win your home games in any competition. We are a better team now than we were then [against Leicester at home].

“We just didn’t control the parts of the field that we played on that night. That was disappointing but we knew that and as a coaching team we were concerned that would come back to bite us, and it has.”

Man of the match, Lewis Jones, crossed for a hat-trick against Calvisano, as Cardiff Blues signed off their European campaign with maximum points at the Welsh capital.

Mulvihill was pleased with a number of individual performances but admits he has injury worries amongst his backline.

The head coach added: “It was a pretty good day for us and if we can keep those penalty and turnover numbers down, then you will have chance of winning games.

“Lewis took his chance really well and played well throughout. Garyn Smith was also outstanding, we’ve seen the best of him out there, and Seb Davies was really physical from start to finish, so that was really good to see those boys stepping up.

“In those games, you need to try not to over-play, and I think we managed that today. We were quite good with the ball.

“The problem at half time was that they had already gone through most of their menu twice so the second half was about being patient and sticking to your game plan.

“You don’t need to be worried about doing the same thing. It’s about keep knocking those points over and playing the right moves.

“We’re at bare bones in the backline at the moment, and are probably down to 10 backs within the club that’s fit, with four or five away for the internationals as well, so this break has probably come at a good time for us.

“We might get a few boys back, and we have a number of forwards who will be back soon. The likes of Rory Thornton, Kristian Dacey and James Botham, who will be available for selection soon, but it’s not the same story for the back.

“We’ll struggle but we’ll have to put a team together or potentially look at some short-term recruitments to fill the gaps.

“It we find someone, and they have an opportunity, it’s up to them to put their hands up and take it.”