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Rees insists Cardiff Blues must improve contact area ahead of Leinster clash

2nd September 2017

Matthew Rees insists his side must improve in the contact area ahead of next week's visit to Leinster.

The hooker, who recently signed a new contract extension at Cardiff Arms Park, captained his side during last night’s Guinness PRO14 defeat to Edinburgh.

Rees was impressed by Edinburgh’s physicality at the breakdown, but insists it is an area that his side can improve on over the next week, going into their first away game of the season.

“It’s a case of going in on Monday, addressing the issues, the main one being the contact area, and make sure we can put that right, ready for Leinster, which we know is a tough place to go, but we’ve got to enjoy the challenge and make sure we put the wrongs right,” said Rees.

“After a great performance against Exeter last week, we come up to the first home game of the season in the Guinness PRO14 and it’s a hard one to take. It’s a very disappointed changing room.

“We made too many errors in terms of too many turnovers. We’ve been working hard over the last couple of weeks and going into this game we’ve had a good working week.

“I don’t think it’s too much to worry about at the moment, after the first game, and I think you have to give credit to Edinburgh for the way they handled the contact area.

“It’s probably a bit of a mindset on behalf of the players as well. There’s only so much you can cover in the working week, but the contact are is a massive part of the game and like I say, we were second best.

“As players we’ve got to hold our hands up and take the brunt of it, which will come on Monday.

“It’s down to the individuals, making sure you go out to the field and you got that hunger for the contact area.

“Edinburgh probably targeted the contact area and seen it they can do a job there it takes our game away from us, and they sure did that tonight.”

On the other hand, Rees was happy with the way the Cardiff Blues matched up to the Edinburgh pack in the scrum, as they won numerous penalties during the second half.

“The scrum is one area we’ve been pretty good at over the last couple of years.

“Especially coming up against coming up against Edinburgh and Richard Cockerill, it’s one area they’ve probably been working hard on.

“WP Nel on the tighthead is known for his scrummaging, and it made for a good battle at scrum time tonight.”