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Baber expects derby of 'energy and edge'

12th November 2013

Coach Gareth Baber expects plenty of 'energy and edge' when Cardiff Blues tackle Ospreys in the LV=Cup at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night (kick-off 7.30pm).

Blues narrowly lost out 21-15 to Worcester Warriors in the region’s opening pool clash.

Ospreys also lost out the English Premiership opposition as Leicester Tigers wrapped up a 39-16 win at Welford Road.

Backs Coach Baber acknowledges both teams will now be fired-up to get a first win in the competition and keep hopes alive of a knockout place.

And, although both teams will have several players away on international duty, Baber knows those that go out on the field in Swansea will be keen to prove a point against some familiar faces.

“We are expecting a big local derby – immaterial of what competition we are in,” said Baber, who will leave the region at the end of the year to take on a new coaching role in Hong Kong.

“We know it is going to be physical. There will be real energy and edge to the game.

“It’s a game between two teams that know each other very well and there will be a lot of competition within the two groups.

“A lot of the players would have played against each other through age groups, whether that is for the Ospreys or Blues, so they know each other well. We are looking forward to a crack at them this week.”

Meanwhile, Baber reported positive news on fly half Gareth Davies, who limped out of the game with Worcester during the first half.

And he urged Simon Humberstone, who could yet get his first start for the region this week, to grasp the opportunity in the coming weeks.

“Rhys (Patchell) has come back to us from the Welsh squad with a shoulder issue and Gareth (Davies) picked up a strain last week. We are monitoring him to see his availability this weekend.

“Simon Humberstone has come in and impressed us all enormously during his time here. For a lad who has been playing Principality Premiership with Pontypridd, he has not taken a step back since he got here.

“He is capable of holding a position down here. Really it is up to him now. He has been given an opportunity by Phil (Davies) to come in and really now it’s all about putting in performances.

“When you get these opportunities as a young fella, when people around you are injured, you have got to grab them. This could be the opportunity he has been waiting for.

“We have to monitor Rhys, it is nothing too major but we have to rehab him,” he added.

“Gareth is only a slight strain, it is just whether he will win the fitness race for this weekend.

“It’s been better news for Gareth over the last couple of days with how he has responded to treatment.

“We have a number of players away with Wales, we had an outside half who was away with Wales and we have one with a slight strain.

“The reality is this is the group of players we are working with and these players need to represent the Blues.”