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Baber happy with mix of old heads and young guns

Guinness PRO12 Editor

3 Sep 2011

Wales flanker Martyn Williams put his World Cup disappointment behind him to have a strong game against Edinburgh

Blues coach Gareth Baber says his side demonstrated the perfect balance between youth and experience as they opened up their RaboDirect Pro12 campaign with a 38-15 defeat of Edinburgh.


While the Blues have lost several players to World Cup duty, they were still able to call on the experience of 99-cap flanker Martyn Williams and Deiniol Jones – the league’s record appearance holder.

Combined with those old heads were positive performances from the likes of 24-year-old lock James Down and scrum-half Lewis Jones who came off the bench in the second half.

And Baber – who was taking charge of his first game with Justin Burrell – believes the hard yards put in during pre-season more than paid off at Murrayfield.

He said: “We worked on a lot of moves in the pre-season and we were able to put them into practice against Edinburgh.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do but it’s an encouraging start

“It helps that we have so many quality players in the side, even with eight of our side away to the World Cup – players like Martyn Williams, Casey Laulala, Paul Tito and Deiniol Jones – and that allows us to slot in young players alongside them.

“It’s difficult to pick out any players in particular but it’s worth mentioning Gavin Evans. I thought his distribution was very slick.

“I thought too that Lewis Jones played well when he came on in the second half.

“We needed to up the pace of the game and he’s the kind of player who can do that.

“This away victory has given us plenty of confidence.”

Edinburgh’s Michael Bradley was also taking charge of his first game but was far from pleased with jis side's performance.

He said: “It was a poor start (to the season). The positives were that we were able to create, the big negative being that we lost the match.”