John Mulvihill insists Cardiff Blues are prepared to take on a physical Edinburgh side in a crucial Guinness PRO14 encounter at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.
Wales’ Capital Region remain in the hunt for a top three finish, but are currently equal on points with Ospreys in fourth place and trail Connacht by four points in Conference A.
With six Championship games remaining, the head coach has emphasised the significance of his side’s run-in and hopes the youngsters in the side will continue to impress in the coming weeks.
“Richard Cockerill will have them primed as a very physical team, and that’s in his DNA,” said the Australian.
“We’re expecting a strong set-piece, a lot of physicality but they’ve also got good backs and run a lot of inside balls so they’ll keep testing our defence.
“It would be nice to win on the road before facing the Kings at home. Those games will set us up nicely before we play a run of Scarlets, Munster, Connacht and Ospreys.
“Those final two games will be the defining part of the season, and it would be great to get to Judgement Day knowing we’re there. But if we’re not, Judgement Day will take on a whole different significance.
“We’re still in the mix with a few games to go, but we know that we’re in a really strong Conference.
“The good thing is that we play each other at the end of the season, and the picture will be clearer after a couple more games.
“We’re bringing through a lot of the younger crew this season. There was always going to be a change in the guard but it’s probably happened a little bit earlier than we first anticipated.
“If you give young people an opportunity, and they take it, you have to reward them. The only way to build experience is to give them opportunity and see how they go.
“I don’t want to be a coach who can’t pick a player because they haven’t got the experience.”
Last week saw Cardiff Blues host Glasgow Warriors in a 10-try thriller at the Arms Park.
The Scottish outfit came away with maximum points, with the boot of Peter Horne making the difference, but Mulvihill believes they can be positive about the side’s attitude in attack.
The head coach said: “We got two points out of the Glasgow game, but probably should’ve got five. Defensively, we were poor in small moments during the game and we let in three soft tries, so that probably hurt us.
“Our attacking game was on-song out there, which is really positive, and our set-piece was nearly there so it was a bit of a mixed bag.
“To get that close with that amount of possession, I thought we did really well.
“When we get behind, we start to play really well, but we need to learn to do that from the start to avoid having to chase the game.
“But it just shows that the boys can play without fear, and that’s what we saw on Saturday.
“It was a bit different in the coaches box, especially when you’ve got Matthew Morgan taking on four defenders from a quick line-out in the five meter channel. But he got through to the other side and he finished really well.
“We have some good young kids here, who are not fearful of much and that’s great for a coach. It’s important for us to not coach that out of them, and to encourage it.”