Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Young rues loss of Rush

Cardiff Blues boss Dai Young admitted Xavier Rush will be almost impossible to replace after he carried the Welsh region into the Amlin Challenge Cup decider.

The Blues beat Wasps with tries from Leigh Halfpenny and Gethin Jenkins, plus eight points from Ben Blair, to book a title showdown with Toulon in Marseille.

Rush, the former New Zealand international who joins Ulster this summer, was the Blues' driving force as they battled through torrential rain for a deserved win.

“Xavier was outstanding,” said Young. “He got us on the front foot, which was always going to be the most important thing on a day like this. Whichever team got going forward would control the game and Xavier did that for us today. He will be very difficult to replace.

“Obviously we would have preferred a dry track because we have got the players to move the ball — but to win any competition you have to have a B-game as well as your A-game.

“It was never going to be pretty in these conditions but we showed great maturity.”

Dave Walder kicked 15 points to keep Wasps in touch throughout — but he could not land the vital 77th-minute kick that would have taken the match into extra-time.

The Stade Velodrome is a home from home for Toulon, who reached the final with a victory at Connacht on Friday night.

“We knew after the other result that the final would be in France so if we are going to win this we will have done it the hard way,” added a delighted Young.

“But this team have the self belief and mental toughness to go to places and win.”

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