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Scarlets backing Blues’ Euro challenge

Guinness PRO12 Editor

5 May 2010

Scarlets boss Nigel Davies admits he is backing Welsh rivals Cardiff Blues’ bid for European glory, and not just for patriotic reasons.

The Blues face high-flying French outfit Toulon in the final of the Amlin Challenge Cup on May 23 and Davies and his fellow Scarlets are firmly in Dai Young’s corner.

Victory for the Blues would not only mean a first continental trophy for a Welsh side, it would also secure a fourth Welsh and a ninth Magners League place in the Heineken Cup.

As things stand, the Ospreys, Blues and Dragons will all be competing in Europe’s top-tier competition next season, while the Scarlets will be consigned to the Challenge Cup.

But a Blues victory at the Stade Veledrome in Marseilles in two-and-a-half weeks time would change all that, giving the Scarlets a Heineken place courtesy of the Blues qualifying automatically as Challenge Cup winners.

"It’ll be tough but if the Blues do us a favour by winning the Amlin Challenge Cup final, then that’s good news for us," said Davies, who ironically saw his side’s chances of qualification through the Magners League ended by defeat to the Blues last month.

"We will be watching them in the final and we wish them all the best.

"We would have preferred to be a position where we were in control of our own destiny with regards to qualification for the Heineken Cup and not reliant on other results.”

The Blues reached the Amlin Challenge Cup final thanks to an 18-15 win at London Wasps last weekend and a performance that Davies was rightly impressed with.

But having watched his own team fall to a heavy defeat to Toulon in France in early April, Davies knows the Blues will have their work cut out if they are to do the Scarlets a favour.

"It was obviously a hard-fought and tight game against Wasps,” added Davies.

“The Blues worked hard to retain their lead in the final quarter of the match.

"It’s good to see a Welsh side in the final of a European competition and my congratulations go to Dai Young and the Blues players who did well away from home.

"It was a brave performance in pretty awful conditions. They have been playing very well of late and have had a good unbeaten run.

"But it will be a tough one against Toulon in Marseille in May."