CARDIFF BLUES travel to Ulster on Friday having secured four successive Magners League victories and climbed from 5th to 2nd place in the table in the process.
However, they face an Ulster side whose only loss in their last five matches in all competitions was 22-23 at Ospreys in the Magners League in February. They have won three of their four games against Welsh opponents this season.
Speaking ahead of the match, David Young, said,
“It’s a massive game for both teams, who have top four aspirations.”
“Maybe it’s a tougher game for us because of the international withdrawals, as I don’t think they have as many, so it will test our squad a little bit more than them.”
“There are two very important games for us during this Six Nations period before our internationals come back but we recorded a good win against Leinster last weekend.”
“Our defence was excellent, the attack and approach was very good, but we just didn’t cross the whitewash enough.”
“We have got to turn those try scoring opportunities into points and make sure we keep the scoreboard ticking over.”
Ulster’s seven game losing run against Cardiff Blues ended at the Cardiff City Stadium in round eight, whilst the Ulstermen have not achieved a Magners League double over the Blues since season 2005/06.
“I think we have been quite successful over in Ravenhill in recent years so know what it takes to win” added Young.
“It’s always a place where I like going. There’s a great atmosphere, the crowd are very vocal, it’s very intense and it gets the hairs on the back of your neck on end. But there’s nothing better than coming away with a win, as very few teams do it.”
“Ulster are a better team and a better squad than they have been over the last two seasons, so we are going to have to be somewhere near our best if we are to secure the victory.”
“Ulster pose a threat from a lot of areas but obviously Muller in the second row guarantees them lineout possession and is good in defence.”
“Wannenburg, their Number 8, in the back of the scrum is a very strong ball carrier and can take them forward, while Pienaar has quality written all over him and good enough to play 9 or 10.”
“They add to the players who have been there a while and have that never say die Ulster spirit. We know it will be a big challenge but one that we are looking forward to.”
15 Dan Fish 14 Richard Mustoe 13 Gavin Evans 12 Dafydd Hewitt 11 Tom James 10 Ceri Sweeney 9 Rhys Downes
8 Xavier Rush 7 Martyn Williams 6 Andries Pretorius 5 Paul Tito (c) 4 Deiniol Jones 3 Scott Andrews 2 T Rhys Thomas 1 Taufa’ao Filise
16 Gareth Williams 17 Nathan Trevett 18 Sam Hobbs 19 Ben White 20 Ma’ama Molitika 21 Tom Slater 22 Gareth Davies 23 James Loxton
UlsterV Cardiff Blues
Friday 25 February 7.05pm Live on BBC 2 Northern Ireland – Channel 992 on Sky
Referee: James Jones