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John: It's win or bust for European dreams

13th January 2015

Backs Coach Paul John has acknowledged Cardiff Blues must secure a vital win over Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo this Friday night or forget any hopes of European glory.

Blues welcome the Italians to BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park (kick-off 7.30pm) for a crucial game as they look to keep pressure on at the top of Pool 1.

London Irish and Blues are locked at the top of the pool on 14 points as they hunt a place in the last eight.

The away trip to Grenoble next weekend is already being billed as a knockout decider for Blues – but John has warned the team will look no further than Rovigo and a stern challenge on home soil.

“We have looked at Rovigo and focussed on them. It is exactly the same as we did against Leinster and we will give them plenty of respect,” he said.

“We didn’t have an easy game out there and we won’t disrespect them in any way; it’s going to be a difficult game.

“It’s a game we have to perform in and win if we’ve any aspirations of going through the group.

“We were chuffed to bits with the commitment and application from all the players against Leinster,” he added.

“But any defeat is bitterly disappointing and the next game is Rovigo - our first chance to put things right.

“The next two weeks are massive because our aim was always to make the quarter-finals of this competition.

“There will be no complacency from us. We have spoken all week as a squad about making sure we have the same mental attitude that we showed with 14 players last week.

“If we get things right over the next two weeks we can put ourselves in a good position.”

Meanwhile, John has revealed Sam Warburton will miss the game but hooker Kristian Dacey could return after being forced off in the game with Leinster during the first half as Blues look to shuffle the pack.

“Sam is healing well and it probably looked nastier than it was,” he added. “The scar is healing well and it was always the plan that he would not be involved this week. We will look to get him back for Grenoble. Kristian Dacey is looking likely to be involved this week.

“It’s difficult in terms of team selection, especially up front, when you look at the players we have fit and registered for Europe.

“But the boys are training hard and keen to impress. It’s an important game for the club so we will get the best available team on the field.”

Tickets are available NOW for the home European clash with Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo by calling the Ticket Office on 02920 302030 or by clicking HERE