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Hammer: We take nothing for granted in Italy

21st October 2014

Director of Rugby Mark Hammett has vowed his Cardiff Blues will give Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo huge respect and take nothing for granted when the teams meet in the European Rugby Challenge Cup at Stadio Mario Battaglini on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

Cardiff Blues go into Round 2 of the European competition on the back of a confidence boosting bonus point win over Grenoble at BT Sport Cardiff  Arms Park last weekend.

The Italians, by comparison, lost heavily to London Irish in Reading and are on the back of a 29-game losing streak in Europe.

However, as the two teams meet for the first time, Hammer insists his Blues will be at full throttle and eager to back up the opening day win with another big performance.

“It’s one of those games, a little bit like Grenoble, in that it’s the first time we have played Rovigo,” he said.

“We can only go off the footage we have had, but one thing we know is we can’t take anything for granted.

“They are a big side with a forward pack and the two tries they scored last week against London Irish came through driving play. We have got to nullify that.

“We would like to run them around, but like any game you have still got to earn the right to do that through your physicality and shape.

“We’re not trying to change too much but we are certainly looking to be better than last week.”

Hammer has already revealed that Sam Warburton, this week named Wales captain for the autumn internationals, will not play in the game and revealed he would make other changes to manage the squad over the coming weeks.

“We have got to back our ability as a large professional squad,” he said.

“We have a job to do and it’s a challenging fixture for us as we get there late on Friday night and have got an afternoon game.

“We will make changes based on managing our group through the international window.

“Rovigo is our key focus, but as a management group we also have to think about Munster and that has to come into our consideration.

“Sam (Warburton) will not be playing and sometimes it’s not always what they do on the field but the confidence players get from having them on the field.

“But we have got the likes of Josh Navidi, who is a superbly consistent individual week in and week out, and Ellis Jenkins, who we haven’t seen the best of yet. It is an opportunity for that group and a new group of leaders to step up and lead.”