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First team places under threat for Kiwi veterans

Guinness PRO12 Editor

8 Sep 2011

They may have been the mainstays of the Cardiff Blues team for the last four years but Xavier Rush and Paul Tito have been told not to take their first-team places for granted anymore.

Injury ruled Rush out of their storming 38-15 opening-round RaboDirect Pro12 defeat of Edinburgh while Tito came off the bench as a replacement.

Both have now been passed fully fit for the clash with Italian side Benetton Treviso but coach Justin Burnell says the Kiwi duo are going to have to work harder than ever to get their places back.

“Xavier and Paul are both up for selection from the start,” Burnell told the South Wales Echo.

“They will find it hard to get in but what a headache to have when you have their quality to come in.

“They have been involved in the environment with Xavier coming to Edinburgh and running on with the messages from the side, while Paul as club captain was on the side as a replacement.

“They are 120 per cent behind what we are trying to achieve. But they realise they now have to train harder to get back in because it is going to be hard to come straight back into a side that has enjoyed an away bonus point win.”