John Mulvihill believes a maximum five-point haul against Calvisano will not only be vital in Cardiff Blues hopes of European Challenge Cup qualification but in building momentum for the remainder of the season.
The Blues must secure a bonus-point victory over the Italian outfit and hope other results go their way to clinch a spot in the knockout stages. You can find out exactly what needs to happen here.
Mulvihill is acutely aware that his side’s destiny is no longer in their hands but whatever happens, a victory over Calvisano, Cardiff Blues’ seventh in 11 matches, will be equally important in terms of building confidence and momentum.
Mulvihill said: “We want to finish off well, regardless of where it leads us. All we can control is what we do here on Saturday.
“We want to play really well, we want to build some momentum going into the next block. I think that’s 13 weeks in a row and if we win this weekend that will be seven from 11.
“If we can take good form into some massive games against Edinburgh and Connacht away and Scarlets and Ospreys.
“I’m expecting sunshine on Saturday and a good day to kick-off a little bit earlier so let’s have a festival of rugby and really enjoy a fast pace and tempo. Whatever is going to happen outside us, we can only control is getting our five.”
It took Cardiff Blues more than an hour to break the spirits of Calvisano in Italy and Mulvihill does not expect it all his own way on Saturday.
But at a fast and open Arms Park, he is hopeful his side can turn on the style to give themselves every chance of qualification.
He continued: “They are a passionate team. They have a small squad but they will come here with a lot of fire in the first 20.
“When we played them away, we always knew we would have to battle for 60 minutes before we got away from them. Looking at the way they have played in the Challenge Cup they have had some really good minutes and have owned it.
“They will come here to cause an upset but we just have to be good at what we do and hopefully keep the tempo as high as possible.”
And Mulvihill knows his side have a number of key areas they have to tighten up after losing games they could have won against both Leicester Tigers and the Scarlets.
He added: “We have to be consistent with ball, we are very good without the ball at the moment but we need to win key line outs in the attacking end and mount pressure on teams.
“Being more patient is a key for us, we try to score off every play but sometimes we can build nicely and make the referee make a decision or the defence to make a bad read.
“We did that during the first-half against Leicester and scored a try after 14 phases, which was fantastic but against Scarlets we turned the ball over 14 times within 30 metres of their try-line without building enough pressure. All we had to do was build pressure to get a penalty to win that game and that is a lesson we have learnt.”