Gethin Jenkins insists Cardiff Blues still have something to play for this season, as they prepare themselves for the final four fixtures of the Guinness PRO12 regular season.
Danny Wilson’s side fell to a 46-26 defeat to Gloucester in the European Challenge Cup quarter-final on Saturday, but could still qualify for Europe’s premier competition next season through the end-of-season play-offs.
The Blues’ captain, who made his first start since December at Kingsholm following injury, is hoping his side can react to Saturday’s loss and get their season back on track during Friday’s visit to face Ulster at Kingspan Stadium.
Jenkins said: “There’s a race for the play-offs now, sixth is probably a bit too far but seventh or eighth and we will have a play-off against a French or English team.
“We still have something to play for and we need to bounce back against Ulster, which is not an easy place to go either.
“We’ll look at this as a team, take it on the chin and look at the debrief.
“I thought we were comfortable in the game and put some good stuff together, but was really disappointed with the way we ended it.
“There were a couple of things that probably let us down in defence. Credit to them for putting the tries on the board, but we let them score quite easily with some poor defence and that’s something we’ll have to have a big look at because at 26-20 we were in the game and doing well.
“It was a big occasion, with great atmosphere and a big build-up and we were really looking forward to it.
“I thought once they put three or four phases together we looked comfortable, and they didn’t look like beating us. But turnovers and first phase defence wasn’t good enough today, and you’re never happy to concede 46 points.
“We put some physical play together in the first half. Our pick and go was good in the forwards, our gameplan was pretty good and we managed to put some good points on the board. It’s always pleasing to score two tries in the first half, but the negatives outweigh the positives.”
However, the 129-times capped Welsh international is happy to return from the lengthy lay-out and is looking forward to playing a part in the final stages of Cardiff Blues’ season.
“Obviously losing is disappointing, but I’m pleased to get 50-60 minutes of rugby. It’s been a long time and last week it was way off the pace, coming of the bench, but I felt a lot better today.
“It’s different being involved in the team atmosphere and team preparations, and get back on the field and enjoying playing the game, as that’s the main part of being a rugby player. I’m looking forward to getting another game under my belt next week.”