With the end of the season fast approaching, Sam Warburton has highlighted the influence of Cardiff Blues' home crowd and urged supporters to snap up 2017-18 season memberships.
The Blues are preparing for their final home game of the regular season on Friday evening, where they will take on Zebre at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
Following the clash against the Italian outfit, Danny Wilson’s men will travel to Caerphilly to face Newport Gwent Dragons before taking part in a play-off to determine the final qualifier for next season’s European Champions Cup.
Warburton, a former season ticket holder at Cardiff Blues, insists the unique atmosphere at the iconic ground plays a huge part in team performances.
Warburton said: “You can’t stress the importance of a good crowd, especially at Cardiff Arms Park.
“When you come out to do your warm-ups and see the stands are getting pretty full, it is inspiring for the boys to see that many people getting behind them. It makes a huge difference.
“From a player’s perspective, you’re in the middle of the pitch, especially that South Stand, it is really loud in there. It’s great to have that support.
“The boys are always really keen to have as big a crowd as possible. Every time you put that shirt on, you always play for each other, because we train extremely hard, but we know the fans enjoy the success as much as the players, so we play for them as well.”
The Welsh international, who was recently appointed Britsh and Irish Lions captain for the summer’s tour to New Zealand, was a spectator at the recent 35-17 victory over the Ospreys at Judgement Day V due to injury.
However, watching the game from the stands, Warburton was impressed with the physical dominance of the Cardiff Blues pack, with fellow back row, Ellis Jenkins, particularly putting in an eye-catching performance.
“It was probably the best performance I’ve seen from Cardiff Blues since we won in Marseille in 2010 or the EDF final against Gloucester at Twickenham, which was also amazing. It was right up there with that.
“We also beat Toulon at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park about four years ago, and that’s one of the best games I’ve played in, we played great that day.
“But to put in such a physically dominant performance against the Ospreys, I thought the pack were immense. They were awesome.
“When you’ve got a pack, from one to eight, all playing out of their skin, you become a very difficult team to beat.
“It was one of the those days where everybody had a brilliant game. The Ospreys bench made a good impact when they came on, and we had a little bit of a tricky period in the second half but the defence was the best it’s been and it held out. I’m really pleased for the boys.
“Ellis was immense last weekend, and was great the week before out in Ulster. I’ve always said Ellis is a fantastic player and he thoroughly deserved to get called up to New Zealand last summer, where he came off the bench three times and won three caps.
“The summer tour for Wales to play Tonga and Samoa, he’s surely in the frame for that. There’s a lot of top quality sevens out there.
“Ellis against Ollie Griffiths will be a mouth-watering contest when Cardiff Blues face Newport Gwent Dragons in a few weeks’ time. I will watch that battle of the sevens with an eagle eye. Ellis has achieved a lot already, but he’s got a lot more big things to come as well.”
Season Memberships for the 2017-18 season are on sale now from as little as £20 for Under-16s, £79 for Under-21s & Students and £190 for Adults.
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