Cardiff Blues kick off the new Magners League season with a difficult match against last season's runner's up, Edinburgh
Despite being unbeaten in their last three opening games of the season, the Cardiff Blues were slow starters last term, and now face an Edinburgh side that are in the midst of their best ever League run with six straight victories.
Speaking ahead of the match Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby David Young said,
"The Magners League have introduced a play off system this season with a grand final, so I think it's obviously important firstly to get in the top four, but ideally we would want to finish in the top two, so you get a bit of an advantage with a home draw."
"From our point of view, our early form in the Magners League put us under a bit of pressure towards the end of the last campaign, so we have to make sure that we start well this year."
Reflecting on last Friday's match against Northampton, Young said, "Last Friday's performance was very disappointing and the only thing I would say is, it's far better to have a poor performance in a friendly match than a league one, we didn't drop any points and nothing is won in August."
"The performance was unacceptable and I'm looking for a massive response against Edinburgh. We've looked at ourselves collectively, both as coaches and as players, because it certainly doesn't stop with the players, but it also doesn't stop with the coaches."
"Sometimes what a squad needs is a bit of a kick up the backside so I'm hoping last Friday was just that."
"Edinburgh did the double over us last season, so we know how good they are going to be. They finished second in the Magners League last season and haven't lost anyone from that squad, so it will be a big task for us and a very difficult game to open our campaign."
15. Ben Blair 14. Leigh Halfpenny 13. Gareth Thomas 12. Dafydd Hewitt 11. Chris Czekaj 10. Sam Norton-Knight 9. Gareth Cooper 8. Xavier Rush 7. Robin Sowden-Taylor 6. Maama Molitika 5. Paul Tito (c) 4. Bradley Davies 3. Gary Powell 2. Gareth Williams 1. Darren Morris
Replacements: 16. Taufa'ao Filise 17. T Rhys Thomas 18. Scott Morgan 19. Sam Warburton 20. Richie Rees 21. Ceri Sweeney 22. Dafydd James
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.