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Shingler relishing massive quarter-final

27th March 2017

Following the disappointment of a one-point defeat to Leinster, Steve Shingler has turned his attention to Saturday's mouth-watering European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Gloucester.

Cardiff Blues qualified for the knockout stages of the competition after winning five of their six pool stage matches and travel to Kingsholm aiming to go a step further.

Shingler was bitterly disappointed to be edged out against the Guinness PRO12 leaders but he reckons the Blues can cross the border with plenty of confidence following their performance in Dublin.

He said: “That’s two close games against Leinster, we were happy with our performance but disappointed with the result. 

“If you want to come out and win against Leinster, you will only get three or four chances and you have to take them all. We’re obviously disappointed that we came away 21-20 and feel like we could have pinched it at the end.

“The season goal was top six to play in the Champions Cup next year, and we can still do that with seventh place, and to reach the knockout stages of the Challenge Cup.

“We’re in the Challenge Cup next and if we achieve our goals we’ll get there. We still have a lot to play for and we will go into next week excited about playing for silverware.

“After that performance I have total confidence in the side that we can go to Gloucester and do a job.”

The Cherry and Whites have experienced a similar season to the Blues and currently sit eighth in the Aviva Premiership.

They warmed up for Saturday’s clash at Kingsholm with a 32-14 victory over Bristol and Shingler kept a close eye on the encounter.

And with a formidable front-five and a razor-sharp back-three, the fly-half-cum-centre knows Cardiff Blues must be on the money in defence. 

He continued: “They are similar to us, they’ve had an up and down season. They have beat Saracens and Wasps, turned some big teams over but lost to teams they maybe should have beat. 

“They have a lot of quality and you could see that against Bristol – they have a back three and backs in general that can carve any team up so we have to be especially sharp in defence.

“They are a very good team at home, their front five is big and physical, with Hibbard playing very well, so we expect a real battle there. They have a nice blend but we will go there very excited about the challenge.”
Shingler has already experienced the red-hot atmosphere at Castle Grim, both with the Scarlets and London Irish and he believes that feverish atmosphere actually serves to inspire.

He added: “It’s hostile and especially at 8pm when they will have a few ciders. I’ve kicked a few penalties there and had a fair amount of abuse from the Shed when I’ve missed one. 

“But those are the crowds you enjoy playing in front of, especially if you turn them over and it’s even more rowdy.

“Through your career you want to play in big games, in front of big crowds and hopefully get the big wins so it will be a good one that I’m looking forward to.”

Tickets for the Kingsholm quarter-final are still available and can be purchased directly from Gloucester Rugby. Cardiff Blues are encouraging as many supporters to travel across the Severn as possible and tickets can be bought by clicking here.