It may have taken five long hard years to become a major force in Europe, but the Cardiff Blues enter their Heineken Cup quarter-final showdown at the Millennium Stadium showdown against French giants Toulouse in buoyant mood.
David Young's side completed the pool stages of this year's tournament as top seeds and are seriously tipped to knock over Toulouse. Young's hopes have been further boosted with the news that several of his key players who have been carrying niggling injuries came through a training session today unscathed.
Leigh Halfpenny, Gareth Thomas, Martyn Williams, Xavier Rush, Tom Shanklin and Andy Powell have all been deemed fit to play, but as a confident Young explained, if a player isn't 100 per cent fit, he won't be on the squad come Saturday.
"If they are not 100 per cent fit then they won't be involved, it's as simple as that," he said. "We went flat out today so we'll just have to see if there is any reaction tomorrow. But I don't foresee any problems."
With a full strength squad to select from, the Blues supremo will have to burn the midnight oil before deciding his team.
"For every happy player there will be an unhappy one," he admitted "There will obviously be a few disappointed players and I have some selection headaches but our match day 22 will have the self belief and determination and must be prepared to stand and deliver."
He added: "We've built year on year with better players, and the younger players have got more experienced and got used to bigger games and performing in bigger games.
"The belief and the confidence is there but we tinge that with a bit of reality that we have still got things to improve on and we are not the finished article.
"We are as good as anybody on our day but if we are not at our best, we could come second best. We have been consistent in our performances in this competition this season. We came away with all the results I asked of the players but obviously it wasn't much of a reward getting Toulouse in the quarter-finals.
"But we are confident if we can play to our potential that we pull a big a big win off against one of the true giants in European rugby. They will probably come here confident of getting a result, but we have got to worry about ourselves. We will be very respectful of them, look at where their strengths and weaknesses are and it's up to us to impose our game."
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