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Mulvihill targets winning return to Heineken Champions Cup

12th October 2018

John Mulvihill insists Cardiff Blues will be heading to Lyon with every intention of winning their opening Heineken Champions Cup fixture.

Wales’ Capital Region return to the top tier of European rugby for the first time in five years, and open their campaign at Stade de Gerland on Sunday, before welcoming Glasgow Warriors to the Arms Park a week later.

Mulvihill says his team are hungry to compete in Europe’s premier club competition but has warned his side of the threats posed by the Top 14 outfit.

“When you look at our preparation each week, we want to win each game we go into. We’ve picked a squad to play this week, who will be able to play a style of rugby that’s nice and quick.” said the Australian.

“Myself and Ellis were in Ireland last week for the launch, and for me it struck home how enormous this competition is and how big some of the teams we will be coming up against are.

“We need to be in that competition every year. It gave us an extra boost to come back and an understanding of where we are at the moment compared to where we want to be.

“Winning the first game would be fantastic for us, but the competition won’t be over if you don’t win that first game, so we need to make sure we pick up points while we’re there.

“Lyon are aiming to win the French league this year. They have a massive budget, big squad and put 50 points on Montpellier recently.

“We’re playing them over there so we will be the underdogs, but when you go to their house you need to make sure you throw the first punches and make sure we run the game we want to run.”

The Blues have named a loose five of Macauley Cook, Josh Turnbull, Olly Robinson, Ellis Jenkins and Josh Navidi in the pack, with Jarrod Evans returning to the 10 jersey and Gareth Anscombe switching to full back.

Mulvihill has confirmed that his side will be looking to play a fast, open game of rugby in France and hopes last year's double over Lyon will be a boost for the visitors.

The head coach said: “The boys have trained really well. We’ve had a real influence this week on training quick to play quick, and that’s what we need this weekend.

“If we go over to anywhere in Europe to play a slow game, then we will be beaten by the bigger teams.

“We’ve picked a team that will be able to play a style of rugby that’s nice and quick.

“The French teams change quite a bit with the influx of players leaving and new players coming in. But Lyon have a fairly settle coaching group that’s been there for a little while, as have some of their main players.

“I can’t see them changing too much so playing them twice last year will be a good preparation for this season.

“They play a lot of their plays from scrums and line-outs so they’ll be very set piece dominated. If we can disrupt their line-out then we can disrupt their flow of possession.”