Gareth Davies believes Cardiff Blues coaches 'under pressure'

Justin Burnell and Gareth Baber

Former Cardiff chief exec Gareth Davies believes Blues interim coaches Justin Burnell and Gareth Baber are "under pressure" after their European exit.

Leinster demolished the Welsh region in Saturday's Heineken Cup quarter-final in their fourth successive loss and are to lose a host of stars this summer.

Burnell and Baber were confirmed as joint caretaker coaches until the end of the season after Dai Young left.

"I think Burnell and Baber will be under pressure," Davies told BBC Sport.

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Interview: Cardiff Blues joint coach Gareth Baber

"Not only for the performance here but perhaps almost the disintegration of the Blues team this year."

Wales' four regions - the Ospreys, Newport Gwent Dragons, Scarlets and the Blues - are operating a £3.5m salary cap from next season.

The Blues will lose British and Irish Lions prop , former Wales hooker Rhys Thomas, former Wales scrum-half Richie Rees, fly-half Dan Parks and centre Casey Laulala at the end of the season while experienced former Wales flanker Martyn Williams' contract is to expire.

The Cardiff side also dismissed versatile Wales back Gavin Henson last week for "unacceptable behaviour" on a flight home from a heavy defeat at Glasgow Warriors.

Wing Alex Cuthbert's Blues contract expires in the summer and the Welsh Grand Slam winner has warned he has had interest from big-spending French clubs - and Baber has warned of "tough" times ahead.

Coaches such as former Wasps director or rugby Tony Hanks, Grand Slam winning ex-Wales coach Mike Ruddock and current Wales skills coach Shaun Edwards were linked with the Blues job before forwards coach Burnell and skills boss Baber were appointed for the rest of the season.

But Davies, the former Lions, Wales and Cardiff fly-half, feels Welsh club rugby's financial restrictions could rule out big-name appointments at the Cardiff City Stadium.

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Interview: Cardiff Blues captain Xavier Rush

"I'm not sure of the Blues ambitions and how far those ambitions stretch," said former Cardiff chief executive Davies.

"We're all aware of the financial restrictions on the Blues and the other regions in Wales.

"In professional sport you have to pay for top quality, be that coaches or players.

"And with the restrictions on the Blues budget, I think it prohibits perhaps them going out and getting a so-called world class coach."

Baber and Burnell did surprisingly guide the Blues into the quarter-final of Europe but the team have slipped out of Pro12 play-off contention after a run of four defeats in their last five games.

Leinster then dumped the Blues out of the Heineken Cup in Dublin on Saturday in a 34-3 thrashing and Davies admitted: "It is worrying for Blues fans.

"I'm slightly disappointed as I thought the Blues, with half the team are disappearing, would have put on that one final show [against Leinster].

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