Cardiff Blues are one of only two teams who can claim 10 from 10 from the opening two rounds and full back Ben Blair, the tournament's leading scorer so far with 38 points, is adamant they will need back-to-back results against Biarritz Olympique to keep their Heineken Cup quarter-final qualification hopes burning brightly.
Try bonus point wins at Rugby Calvisano and against Gloucester Rugby at the Millennium Stadium have pushed the Blues five points clear of Biarritz at the top of Pool 6 but Blair, capped six times by the All Blacks, is wary of the danger the French club can pose at the Arms Park on Friday night.
The tournament head-to-head score stands 3-1 in Biarritz's favour, the Blues' sole success a 21-20 home win in 2003/04, and both clubs go into the crucial middle rounds of matches on the backs of domestic defeats.
"We were outplayed - they got a bit of a sniff early on while we simply didn't get going," said Blair, a Super 12 winner with Crusaders and Ranfurly Shield victor with Canterbury, of the 28-0 Magners League reverse at Glasgow Warriors while Biarritz were going down 32-13 at home to Stade Français Paris in the Top 14 Orange.
"But I don't think it will have much of a bearing on the Biarritz matches as we will be making so many changes - other than re-focussing the boys on what we need to do over the next two weekends and preparing accordingly.
"The Heineken Cup is such a great tournament because you get to play new teams, those you only come up against once every now and again, and that makes the games both hugely important and enjoyable.
"And we have made a really good start to this season's tournament because while two maximum points is as good as it gets, on top of that the win against Gloucester was probably one of our best performances for a number of years.
"The aim for us now has to be two from two against Biarritz which would put us in a good position when we have to go to Kingsholm in January. That said, top French sides are always dangerous and Biarritz went all the way to the 2006 Heineken Cup final.
"We have not really studied them in any great depth so far, we will be doing that this week, but we know a fair bit about their key players like Dimitri Yachvili, Jerome Thion and Damien Traille.
"Naturally it will be great to have the international boys back with the club although it was a real shock to hear about the extent of Jamie's (Roberts) injury which is a great shame for him as things were going so well and we cannot afford injuries to our big players.
"However, we have been developing a few youngsters like Jamie and Leigh Halfpenny, who have really come through superbly, while Andy Powell has certainly taken his opportunity well in the absence of the injured Xavier Rush.
"Wales' great win over Australia means our Test players will be coming back on a high but they now face two tough games for the club after a tough autumn series.
"It is great to be two from two - and it promises to be a great occasion on Friday night - but these are really huge weeks for us and the Biarritz games have been at the back of our minds for a fair time now."
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