Wales captain Sam Warburton believes it’s high time one of the country’s regions make a major impact in the Heineken Cup and go all the way to the final of the Northern Hemisphere’s premier club competition.
Warburton’s Blues welcome RaboDirect PRO 12 rivals Edinburgh to the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday night in the first of three huge fixtures for the Welsh regions with the Ospreys facing English champions Saracens and the Scarlets hosting Irish province Munster on Saturday.
Things have been going well for the welsh trio so far with Ospreys’ draw with Treviso the only blot on an otherwise perfect set of results from the opening two rounds of the competition.
But that short-term success needs to turn in to a sustained run of wins if one of the Welsh regions is to end a poor history in the competition that has seen no side representing Wales reach the final since the old Cardiff side managed to do it back in 1996, its inaugural year.
And Warburton is adamant the time has come for one of the Welsh regions to stand up and be counted against the best club sides in Europe.
He said: “People were on about the momentum the World Cup players might bring back to the regions.
“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I didn’t really think it would have a knock-on effect, but looking at the results, it seems like it has a little bit.
“You do wonder why someone hasn’t reached the Heineken Cup final since the opening year of the competition.
“For one reason or another it hasn’t really worked out for the Welsh regions. Hopefully this will be the year. We just have to make sure we put performances in at the right time.
“I don’t think any of the regions are too far off to be honest. If they play to their full potential, then they are capable of getting to the final.”