Macauley Cook is under no illusions that Cardiff Blues will have to be 'tough up front' when they face Zebre in the RaboDirect PRO12 on Friday night (kick-off 7.30pm).
Cook, who made his Blues debut against Exeter Chiefs in 2010, made 12 appearances last season in all competitions and is eager to build on that this term.
The all-action forward is set to make his third appearance of the season and operate in the back row when Blues tackle Zebre at the Arms Park.
And Cook, who initially graduated to the Blues Academy from his local club Treorchy, knows the Italian visitors, who impressed against Munster last weekend, must not be underestimated.
“It will be tough up front - make no mistake,” acknowledged the former Wales Under-20 captain.
“They use the pack well and are a big team, they like to drive lineouts and use the scrum.
“There has been a big emphasis on the set piece this week and we know what they are going to bring to the table. We’ve got to match that physicality up front and get the ball to our backs and let them do the business.
“We have sharp and dangerous back division that we need to use. If we can get a platform then we can get a result.
“We’re all looking forward to getting back out on the pitch,” added Cook. “I really like the new surface; it’s very, very quick.
“It can only help when it comes to December and pitches get heavy and tough going. To still be playing on a perfect pitch with the backs we have has got to be an advantage to us.”
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