Cardiff Blues: Positives to be taken from narrow Leinster defeat - Danny Wilson

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Pro12 highlights: Leinster 22-21 Cardiff Blues

Cardiff Blues head coach Danny Wilson says there are "a lot of positives" to take from a narrow defeat away to Pro12 leaders Leinster.

The 22-21 loss marked the Blues' warm-up for their European Challenge Cup quarter-final away at Gloucester.

"To come to Leinster, lose by one point with two clear-cut opportunities to win is something to be proud of," he said.

Meanwhile, Wales prop Gethin Jenkins returned after more than three months out with a bicep injury.

Jenkins' arrival as a second-half replacement could not halt a string of scrum penalties in Leinster's favour, however, which proved crucial to their victory along with a series of line-out steals.

The Welsh side came close to causing an upset as scrum-half Tomos Williams, twice, and replacement back-rower Sion Bennett finished off three long-distance moves before wing Tom James came close to a fourth with five minutes left.

"We certainly struggled at the scrums today, we went into the game with a tight-head [Anton Peikrishvili] who had a back issue, that surfaced quickly and we got very disjointed in that area," Wilson added.

"Having said that, we defended against huge pressure, and we scored three great tries off turn-over.

"So there's a lot of positives in there, but the difference was that power game they can play."

Wilson could also take heart from a powerful performance by Wales wing Alex Cuthbert, who was discarded from the national side after the Six Nations defeat against England.

"Hopefully that'll do him the world of good in terms of confidence, and do us all good going to Gloucester next weekend for a big quarter-final" Wilson told BBC Wales Sport.

Looking ahead to Gloucester

Danny Wilson
Danny Wilson's Cardiff Blues came second in Pool 4 of the European Rugby Challenge Cup this season

With no automatic Champions Cup spot for the Challenge Cup winners, Wilson's side are now almost certain to be one of four teams in a play-off for the last top-tier place in Europe, along with English, French, and Pro12 opponents.

"We've still got a lot to play for this season, and we'll go into next week excited about playing for silverware," said centre Steve Shingler.

"I'm looking forward to Gloucester after that performance, it's total confidence we can go there and do a job.

"They've got a lot of quality, they've got backs who can carve any team up so we'll have to be sharp in defence.

"They're similar to us, they've had an up and down season, they've turned some big teams over and lost others they should have won, so it'll be all to play for."

Both Gloucester and Cardiff Blues are eighth in their respective leagues ahead of their Kingsholm clash on Saturday, 1 April.

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