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Page last updated at 10:07 GMT, Wednesday, 15 April 2009 11:07 UK

Blues favourites tag 'irrelevant'

EDF Energy Cup final
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 18 April Kick-off: 1430 BST Coverage: Live on BBC One & online, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, & live scores on BBC Sport website

Blues director of rugby Dai Young
Blues boss Dai Young says his team must keep on improving

Dai Young says Cardiff Blues' two wins over Gloucester this season will count for nothing in the EDF Cup final, although his side are favourites.

The Welsh side beat Gloucester home and away in the Heineken Cup pool stage.

Those successes plus a win over French giants Toulouse to reach the semi-finals means the Blues are hot tips to win the EDF on Saturday at Twickenham.

"It's irrelevant in my preparation... whether we're favourites or underdogs," said Blues director of rugby Young.

"One thing I'll be hammering home to the players is although we've beaten them [Gloucester] twice, by their own admission they didn't feel that they played well.

"They feel that they can probably bring a lot more to the table.

"I think we're going to play a lot better team come Saturday than we probably have previously, so I'm expecting a much tougher game and we're going to have to be better then the two previous meetings."


While the Blues have found a rich vein of form as their season enters its crucial stage, Gloucester have been more erratic.

Dean Ryan's men impressed in keeping the Blues' Welsh rivals the Ospreys scoreless in their 17-0 EDF semi-final win at the end of March.

But while the Blues were seeing off three-times Heineken Cup winners Toulouse last weekend, the Cherry and Whites were slumping to a 40-22 loss at Northampton in the Guinness Premiership.

Also, in recent years Gloucester have lost five domestic cup semi-finals, two Guinness Premiership finals and one semi.

However, Young says he is concentrating on what his own team can keep producing rather than what the opposition is doing.

"The challenge is going to be us to sustain that level of performance, that level of commitment [they showed against Toulouse]," said Young.

Twickenham final excites Tito

"It's a big ask for us but it's one we've got to live up to, to achieve something."

The Blues have been steadily building a competitive squad but as of yet do not have the silverware to show for their efforts.

So Saturday's final at Twickenham brings the first opportunity for the Blues to claim a tangible reward.

"It's exciting isn't it, because we've put a lot of hard work not only this season but in the seasons previous really," Young said.

"So it'll be great for the players to achieve something and to get the rewards for all their hard work.

"I was thrilled at the weekend, I'm thrilled to be in the final but I've still got to bang that drum, I've still got to shake that stick about a little bit because we've got to keep on improving."

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see also
Blues eclipse 'wayward' Ospreys
13 Apr 09 |  Welsh
Cardiff Blues v Gloucester (Sat)
13 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
Gloucester 12-16 Blues
18 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union
Blues 37-24 Gloucester
19 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
RaboDirect Pro12
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union

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