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Burnell feeling confident in Blues


Bradley Davies, left

Bradley Davies, left

Bradley Davies, left

Justin Burnell has given short shrift to the pundits who have written off Cardiff Blues ahead of their Heineken Cup quarter-final against holders Leinster.

The Blues will arrive in Dublin after a difficult week that saw them sack Gavin Henson following his behaviour on a flight home from Glasgow, and continued with Henson's fellow centre Jamie Roberts being ruled out for six months through injury.

But Blues forwards coach Burnell is in upbeat mood, despite Heineken Cup quarter-final history heavily favouring the home team. "We are not going there to make up the numbers or to make the match a good spectacle - we are going there to try our hardest to win the game," Burnell said.

In the competition's 60 previous last-eight games, away victories have only been recorded on 14 occasions.

"It will be a massive occasion at the Aviva Stadium in front of a huge crowd against the big boys in Europe - if not the team in Europe - so it couldn't be much bigger than this," Burnell went on.

"Leinster play with a lot of continuity. They have some fantastic pace out wide and a great pack of forwards. They are a bit of an all-round package and we expect a tough encounter. However, hopefully we can manage to slow their ball down and upset them in certain aspects of their game.

"And when you look at our performances in the matches at Racing Metro this season and in the 2010 Amlin Challenge Cup final against Toulon, there is no reason why we can't go to Dublin, perform and win the game."

The Blues are boosted by Wales lock Bradley Davies set to make his second appearance back after a seven-week suspension imposed following his citing for foul play during the RBS 6 Nations game against Ireland at the same ground on February 5.

Burnell said: "Bradley's return is a big thing for us. He has been a fantastic player for Wales and Cardiff Blues, and just to have him back has been like a breath of fresh air through the squad.

"He is a good bloke, a good leader, and he has really grabbed hold of the set-piece over the last few weeks and had a good look at that from a technical point of view, so we are really excited about having him back."