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Mulvihill ready for vital PRO14 encounter

24th October 2018

John Mulvihill expects a fast and furious encounter against the Toyota Cheetahs on Saturday as Cardiff Blues return to the Guinness PRO14 in a "vital" period.

Following two weeks of Heineken Champions Cup rugby, the Blues resume action in the Championship and will be aiming to build upon three consecutive wins in the competition.

They face a Cheetahs team in Bloemfontein, who have spent the past two weeks preparing for the encounter without European action, searching for their first victory of the season.

Wales’ Capital Region battled back to beat the Cheetahs 24-21 just a month ago and Mulvihill anticipates another full throttle encounter.

He said: “This weekend is really important. These guys are waiting for us – they haven’t had a game for three weeks so they will be really well organised and it is important that we start the game really well.

“It is a vital game. If we get some points out of it, then win the game at home against Zebre then we will be sitting maybe second in the table heading into the break.

“There have been a lot of different style of rugby that we have come up against – the Irish teams play quite quick and the Italian teams slow it up but the Glasgow game last week will put us in really good stead for this because the Cheetahs play a fast game.

“They will move the ball a lot and early to try to run us off our feet at altitude.”

The Blues arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday in preparation for the Round Seven clash and have been training at Western Province Rugby’s Bellville-base.

With temperatures reaching as much as 36c in the afternoons, it has been a gruelling schedule but Mulvihill has been happy with the preparation and is ready to take it up a notch when the players reach altitude in Bloemfontein.

He added: “It was 36 degrees today and it is quite warm! We were on the field at 10am and we did our units and weights, had a quick meeting and got back in the shade!

 “We were back on the field at about 12:30 for another 45 minutes but the boys are a great bunch of athletes who look after themselves really well.

“The hydration factor is massive, staying out of the sun when they can. This game is at six o’clock at night, it’s going to be high 20s and a bit sticky but that’s the way it is.”

“We’re probably ahead of where we want to be and we’ve kept it pretty simple. We’ve done a lot of these plays over the last number of weeks so there’s not going to be too much changing in our game-plan.

“We’ve got to do a few things different in our captain’s run on Friday. We’ll make sure that we do have a bit of a lung-buster component to our captain’s run to mimic what’s going to happen to these boys at altitude 15 minutes into the game.

“If we can push through that period of the game we’ll put ourselves in good stead.”