Cardiff Blues boss Dale McIntosh hails 'inspirational' Matthew Rees

Caretaker coach Dale McIntosh says the return to the Cardiff Blues side of hooker Matthew Rees helped inspire their 28-23 Pro12 win over Ulster.

Wales and British and Irish Lions hooker Rees, 33, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in October 2013.

But he has undergone successful treatment and was named on the bench.

"I will say there was added inspiration in Matthew Rees, the guy's an icon... we look at him and he's an example to us all," McIntosh said.

Cancer survivor Matthew Rees enjoys Blues return

"He came out there and he just looked like he hadn't been away from the game, and that's what people and rugby players should strive for."

Blues had suffered a heavy defeat at Ospreys last weekend and Ulster arrived at the Arms Park in third place and looking good for a play-offs spot.

But, helped by Robin Copeland's try and seven penalties from fly-half Gareth Davies, Blues upset the form book to claim a much-needed and morale-boosting win.

"I was pleased with the attitude, the way in which we defended and just completely took the game to Ulster in the first half," McIntosh said.

"We did ourselves and the region an injustice last week and we did a lot of soul-searching to try and make amends and I believe we did that.

"Ulster hadn't lost a game this year and we knew that, but when the momentum started swaying away from us it was about us reacting to that and we did work hard.

"Although we made errors we were still working hard, but sometimes just working hard isn't enough, it's got to be married with accuracy and we got there in the end.

"Hopefully that gives us confidence but unfortunately we've been so erratic this season that's not a given.

"What we need to do is understand we've turned a corner here, take the next game as it comes which is Edinburgh and take that confidence, passion and desire into that game."

McIntosh and co-caretaker coach Paul John took the reins after the resignation of director of rugby Phil Davies.

While there has been no announcement of a permanent successor to Davies, McIntosh says he and John would love the opportunity to continue in charge next season.

"Of course we'd love to be here next season. 'Johnsy' and I go back a long way and we're confident in our coaching ability," McIntosh added.

"Things have happened this year and I understand that in elite performance it's about results, but that's for the powers-that-be to decide.

"We've got a passion for coaching, that's as simple as it is, and we've got a passion for those boys in that blue and black jersey.

"Without a doubt we think we can bring something to the party and we can really turn this side about."

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