Cardiff Blues utility back and Heineken Cup champion Gareth Thomas is relishing the chance to play against his old club. Speaking after the 17-0 victory over Bristol Thomas said,
I think it was a superb game today in difficult conditions and I thought we controlled the game in most areas. The forwards fronted up against the Bristol strength and gave the backs a good platform to play from. We managed to secure the game in the first half.
It will be great to back to Toulouse. Especially the time of the year we go there. Hopefully the weather will be good and hopefully well play in the football stadium which should be a good crowd and a good atmosphere.
Its good for the Kiwis to go an experience playing in a different county and a crowd that are so passionate about their rugby. Its a massive challenge for us, but we are in the quarter finals of Europe and we are there because we deserve it. Im sure if we play to our potential well be a match them on their own patch.
With a passionate French crowd behind them Toulouse are never an easy team to beat, but Thomas feels that can be a motivating factor.
We played well in every away game so far in Europe but I think Toulouse will be a different animal to Bristol, Harlequins and Stade. I dont think we can look at them and think this is what we are going to get in the quarter finals. Having played there, Im sure there will be an atmosphere that some of the players havent experienced before and we cant think of it as a daunting prospect but as a motivator.
Toulouse are an all round team but I think you have to stop their off load game. They are told to offload the ball and try to play a wide expansive game, but they have also got the players who if they need to keep it tight can do that. The challenge for us is to try to stop a team that over the last five years have been one of the best if not the best team in Europe.
The three times crowned Heineken Cup champions are now probably ranked as one of the favourites for this seasons tournament but Thomas feels that the Blues can surprise a few people.
I think the quarter finals are not an easy stage to get to. You play home and away against some quality teams and everyone gets there on merit. I feel we are going to the most daunting place but that needs to be mixed with excitement. Toulouse are probably one of the favourites to reach the final but we need to go there and do a job. If we do get the result people will stand up and take notice, they are looking at us now after getting through to the final 8.
I feel weve got the perfect blend of youth and excitement which blend well with our experienced players. Winning the Heineken Cup can also be a bit about the luck of the draw but going away and getting a result is the sign of true champions.
Cardiff Blues tour operators Robert Davies Travel are planning to charter a flight from Cardiff for the Heineken Cup quarter final match against Toulouse on 4/5/6 of April.
If you are interested in travelling on the official supporters' trip please fill in your details on www.cardiffblues.com/43_404.php and Cardiff Blues will email the details of the packages to you as soon as they are confirmed
Robert Davies Travel is the official tour organisers for the Cardiff Blues. Log on to http://www.robertdaviessportstravel.com/ for more information on any tours. Whatever your group, they will take all the hassle out of your tour organizing, and arrange the tour around your personal requirements.
The quarter-finals on the weekend of 4 / 5 / 6 April will be:
Saracens (1) v Ospreys (8)
London Irish (2) v Perpignan (7)
Gloucester Rugby (3) v Munster (6)
Toulouse (4) v Cardiff Blues (5)