The Blues take on Ulster this Friday knowing they must pick up points to secure Heineken Cup qualification for next season.
Cardiff Blues’ only victory in their last four games in the Magners League was 30-7 over Glasgow Warriors at Firhill on in February while Ulster have won just one of their last six Magners League matches: 15-10 at home to Munster in January.
Speaking ahead of the match Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby, David Young, said
"Last season it didn’t quite happen for Ulster and they didn’t have the year that they normally do."
"Usually they are quite formidable and are always there or thereabouts in the Magners League."
"During the summer they made a number of changes, both on and off the field, and they’ve signed a few players to strengthen their squad."
"They have also certainly made a statement of intent with their signings for next season and are going in the right direction."
"They are a very hard team to beat, very dogged up front, with a lot of flair behind, so we know it will be difficult to get the win. However, victory is crucial for us."
The Blues have won their last five games against Ulster, whilst the Ulstermen’s only previous league victory in Cardiff was 25-22 at the Arms Park in September 2005 and Young knows his team must start picking up points.
"With the rearranged fixtures in the Magners League being played last week, we have a clearer picture of where we are."
"With only five games left in the League, we have pretty much set a standard and a goal that we have to win all five matches, starting with the double header against Ulster."
The Blues see the return of six players from international duty with Leigh Halfpenny, Tom Shanklin, Tom James, Richie Rees, Martyn Williams and Gethin Jenkins all in the starting line up. Jamie Roberts and Sam Warburton have both been rested following their appearances for Wales during the Six Nations campaign.
15 Ben Blair 14 Leigh Halfpenny 13 Casey Laulala 12 Tom Shanklin 11 Tom James 10 Ceri Sweeney 9 Richie Rees
8 Xavier Rush 7 Martyn Williams 6 Andy Powell 5 Paul Tito 4 Scott Morgan 3 Taufa’au Filise 2 T Rhys Thomas 1 Gethin Jenkins
16 Rhys Williams 17 Scott Andrews 18 Andries Pretorius 19 Maama Molitika 20 Gareth Cooper 21 Sam Norton Knight / Dai Flanagan 22 Dafydd Hewitt
The following players were not available for selection due to injury
Gareth Williams (knee) expected to be back within two weeks
Deiniol Jones (ribs) expected to be back within two weeks
John Yapp (torn bicep) expected to be back within two weeks
Bradley Davies – (head injury) expected to be back within two weeks
Robin Sowden Taylor – (Achilles) expected to be back within two weeks
Gary Powell – (Ruptured Achilles) October/November
Sam Hobbs – (head injury) May/June
Saturday 3 April 7.30pm kick off ML
Ulster v Cardiff Blues
Saturday 17 April 6.30pm kick off ML
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues
23/24/25 April ML
Newport Gwent Dragons v Cardiff Blues