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Warburton ready for derby day fireworks

3rd April 2015

Back row Sam Warburton admits he expects derby day fireworks as Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons lock horns in a titanic European Rugby Challenge Cup clash at Rodney Parade on Saturday (kick-off 12.45pm).

Warburton will line up in the number seven jersey for Blues as they face a winner takes all knockout rugby clash with the Dragons.

Both teams have recorded wins this season over each other and it was Blues that claimed bragging rights when the teams met at Rodney Parade on New Year’s Day.

However, Warburton believes the outcome of that game will have little bearing as the two regions face off in the battle for a place in the last four of European competition.

He said: “When I first started playing at Cardiff Blues we always enjoyed knockout rugby. This is our biggest game for years and with the local rivalry thrown into the mix too.

“It’s one-all after the Christmas and New Year games. We’re not a million miles apart in the league and evenly matched so it looks set to be a close one.

“I’ve missed knockout rugby and there is no talk of the last four or semi-finals. It’s a huge test at Dragons and we look no further than that.

“I want to win trophies at Cardiff Blues; this is where I want to play my rugby,” he added.

“There would be no biggest satisfaction than winning trophies with the players I’ve grown up with.

“I was on the bench for the European final back in 2010. Now I want to be a big part of it.

“There is an edge about training and I’m sure both teams will fly out in front of a hostile crowd. I’m sure there could be some fireworks in that first half.”

Warburton will go face-to-face with a number of familiar faces, including Taulupe Faletau who he met up ahead of the big game to preview the fixture for BBC Sport Wales.

“It’s always strange to face friends,” added Warburton. “You rattle into each other but at the end of the every breakdown there is always a pat on the back and a hand up off the floor. There is that respect.”