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Warburton pushing for European return

9th December 2014

Director of Rugby Mark Hammett admits he has a selection headache ahead of the return European clash with London Irish on Saturday - with Wales international Sam Warburton pushing for a first team recall.

Warburton missed the first European Rugby Challenge Cup victory over Irish after his exploits with Wales in the autumn internationals.

However, the flanker is now back champing at the bit and Hammer acknowledges that means a selection poser with his back row in fine form last weekend at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.

“Sam has got through the week well and has done a heavy session this morning (Tuesday) so he is looking good to play a part,” he said.

“That means a possible change and when you look at our loose forward trio, certainly over the last few weeks, they have been quite outstanding, led by Josh Navidi. They have all played their part.

“It is a tough decision but it’s better to have those than finding it easy to make change.

“Jarrad (Hoeata) is still unlikely to play with a calf injury and Rhys (Patchell) is long-term although he is coming along really well. Dafydd (Hewitt) is also long-term.

“One of the biggest difficulties is around players that we signed after the European registration date so it means we can’t select them. That’s disappointing but the guys who are in are doing really well.”

Looking ahead to the fixture, Hammer insisted it was vital Blues focussed on themselves and kicking on from the 24-14 win as they look to cement top spot in Pool 1.

“We were pretty happy with what we were trying to achieve in the game last week, but in the first 20 minutes we made too many mistakes,” he added.

“When we maintained ball we put pressure on them and scored points. That is the challenge, to now get better. If we can eliminate the mistakes we can play with more ball.

“I’m sure they (London Irish) will have looked at us as we have looked at them. We need to concentrate heavily on what we are doing and make sure we are right.”