Cardiff Blues chasing another Heineken Cup scalp

Cardiff Blues are looking to make it six of the best against Edinburgh Rugby – but forwards coach Justin Burnell insists that five match winning run against the Scottish capital side will count for nothing when the teams clash at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday night.

Three wins on the trot in the Pro12, along with an 18-17 home win and a 21-14 victory on the road in last season’s Heineken Cup leave the Blues looking for a sixth straight success while Edinburgh have their sights on reaching the knock-out stages for only the second time in 15 campaigns and the first time since 2004.

The Blues have failed to reach the last eight for the last two Heineken Cup tournaments with Burnell and backs coach Gareth Baber in charge since the summer departure of Dai Young.

Both clubs are two from two in Pool 2, beating Racing Metro 92 and London Irish, with Edinburgh one point clear courtesy of the try bonus point they banked in the extraordinary 48-47 Murrayfield triumph against the French club in Round 2.

“We do have a good record against Edinburgh but it counts for nothing at all now,” said Burnell. It is all about current form and they are a fantastic side.

“They were shown up by Munster but even then they were scoring tries. They are very capable in attack and can score tries.

“We are well aware that Edinburgh are a very good side. Michael Bradley has come in and given them a total overhaul, having done a fantastic job at Connacht.

“They have formidable players like Tim Visser, Chris Paterson and Ross Ford and some of them are the form players in Europe.”

Captain and scrum half Greig Laidlaw is another of those on fire in the Heineken Cup, having scored 28 of their points overall this season including a try, six conversions and two penalty goals in a Heineken Man-of-the-Match performance against Racing Metro 92.

The potential No 9 battle between Laidlaw and new Welsh “find” Lloyd Williams could be a fascinating contest but Burnell is adamant the forward battle will be the real key.

“The battle has to be won up front first and a scrum half is only as good as the possession he gets,” he said.

“The scrum half who is on the front foot will be the one that comes out on top on the night.”

Winning a club’s three home games is now an almost given “must do” and, with Friday night the second of three in the Welsh capital and followed by trips to Edinburgh and the Reading contest against London Irish, Burnell admits nothing but a victory will do.

“This will be the biggest game of our season so far and we’re very excited about it,” he said, “so it goes almost without saying that this game is vitally important to us.

“It comes down to the fact that after playing Edinburgh at home we have two away games first the return match and then against London Irish.

“And, while everyone seems to have all but written off Racing Metro, that is foolish. They certainly don’t like losing at home and could come back into it.”

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