Gareth Baber hopes Blues fly Welsh flag in Heineken Cup

Heineken Cup Pool Two - Cardiff Blues v Racing Metro

Venue:
Cardiff City Stadium
Date:
Sunday, 22 January
Kick-off:
1515 GMT
Coverage:
Full commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & online and score updates on BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sport website. Live on Sky Sports 2
Justin Burnell and Gareth Baber
Justin Burnell and Gareth Baber were part of Dai Young's coaching team

Gareth Baber hopes the "most important game" of his Cardiff Blues coaching career can help the region fly the flag for Welsh rugby in Europe.

If they match Edinburgh's efforts against London Irish when they host Racing Metro on Sunday, the Blues will reach the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

Baber says doing it for themselves is the primary goal.

"If we've got that win, then that might be representation for Wales," added backs coach Baber.

"But it is important to have our teams in the knock-out stages of Europe."

On Saturday the Scarlets face a trip to Castres hoping to win a place in the second-tier Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

Likewise on Sunday, the Ospreys are in Biarritz with a Challenge Cup knock-out place their most realistic hope of further European competition this season.

Baber says for himself and joint head coach Justin Burnell, the Blues clash against Racing is hugely significant.

Baber and Burnell were confirmed as coaches after Dai Young's June departure to London Wasps.

Racing Metro have nothing to play for, leaving former scrum-half Baber to believe they will be dangerous opponents without any pressure to perform.

He said: "As two coaches, it's probably the most important - we always say as the cliché the next game is the most important.

"But… this becomes crucial in terms of the group's development, the organisation as well.

"We want to be in the knock-out stages and I think it's important for everybody involved that we focus on getting that done.

"The focus has to be first and foremost to get a win. European games are tough, regardless of the team that Racing are going to send out here.

"And whatever team they send out of that changing rooms, it's going to be an international rugby team.

"So we've got to be focused on what we can get done. I think we have a style and system and structures that we want to stick to.

"You don't want to change too much about yourself now because you might lose yourself.

"So I think it's important to stick positive to the things that are working for us and take them into that game to get a win.

"If they're a French team who haven't got anything to play for in terms of their own mentality, then they could be very dangerous so we've got to plan accordingly to that."

Edinburgh, level on points with the Blues, will also have the quarter-finals in their sights when they face London Irish.

A bonus-victory and anything other than maximum points for the Blues would see the Scottish side go through.

But if both sides collect the same number of points on Sunday, the Blues will progress as Pool Two winners thanks to their superior record in the two games against Edinburgh.

Baber says he and Burnell will not consider the potential mathematical connotations until the last quarter of Sunday's clash.

He added: "For Welsh rugby we want all four regions up there fighting for it, but the way that it is, as competitive as it is, it doesn't always follow that way.

"First and foremost what we are doing is for the Blues."

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