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Momentum will be crucial in Italian double header - Cook

19th February 2018

Macauley Cook insists momentum will be crucial, as Cardiff Blues head into Sunday's Guinness PRO14 clash against Zebre on the back of back-to-back Championship victories.

The utility forward crossed the whitewash for his fourth try of the campaign during Saturday’s 25-18 win over Munster, as Danny Wilson’s side closed the gap on third-placed Toyota Cheetahs to eight points in Conference A.

Cook is expecting a tough challenge against a resurgent Zebre side at Parma, and believes it’s important to continue to show the never-say-die attitude in defence, which the Blues have shown in the nail-biting victories over Cheetahs and Munster.

“Hopefully now we can keep the ball rolling. It’s not an easy place to go to face Zebre, they’re getting better and better every year and it’s a real tough place to visit,” said the former Wales Under-20 captain.

“We’ve got to get our head on it now, but we’ve got a nice turn-around to rest up before rocking up to training on Tuesday ready and looking forward to the challenge.

“They’ve been two massive wins for us so far, but as the boys have reiterated, it’s a huge four-game block for us and making it two from two has been a great start.

"Our performance during the first half was excellent. We blew them away with our attacking game and our defence was strong.

“We knew they were going to come back out strong in the second half, and we’re a little bit disappointed with how we started after the break as we let them back into the game.

“But the attitude the boys showed for each other when we were hanging in there was great and we managed to close off the game.”

Cook opened the scoring against the Irish province on Saturday, starting and finishing a slick move to slide in the right corner.

The utility forward claimed a line-out, finding Ellis Jenkins on the peel, who released Matthew Rees on the right-hand touchline.

Following big carries from the likes of Taufa’ao Filise, Nick Williams, Seb Davies and Lloyd Williams in midfield, Jenkins was on hand to send a looping, long pass to Cook, who had a trademark short-range run-in for the line.

The 26-year-old was delighted to see the training ground move pay off, and was quick to praise his team-mates’ work in the build up.

Cook said: "We had a line-out move planned in the week, and I was happy to see it come off. It worked perfectly well, and Smiler was down the touchline rolling back the years. 

“He definitely wasn’t going to pass the ball, but he looked pretty quick running down that line.

“I was in the right place on the wide channel again and Ellis put a lovely ball over the top in fairness. How he’s seen it, I’ll never know, but he looked up and threw the pass.

“It was a great pass in fairness and the try was put on a plate for me.

“I was just glad to get over the line and get the ball rolling on the scoreboard.

“Our line-outs definitely change from week to week because Danny is very meticulous in the way he looks at how other teams defend. If he think there’s an opportunity to exploit, he’ll come up with a plan.”

"It’s normally one special move per week, and last week we did a similar move round the front, but a little bit closer to the line, and Ellis scored against the Cheetahs."