CARDIFF BLUES will have revenge on their mind as they face Toulouse at the Millennium Stadium today.
The Blues exited at the quarter-final stage last year, beaten 41-17 by Toulouse.
The aristocrats from La Ville Rose are again on the agenda tomorrow, only this time in front of a 30,000-plus crowd at the Millennium Stadium.
“I believe we are a far better team now,” said Blues head coach David Young.
“We have matured as a squad, we have a harder edge and we are more used to playing big games on the big stage.
“Last season when we reached the quarter-finals it was a big achievement, but we must not settle for that this time. We must have the self-belief and determination to go further.”
Wales internationals Andy Powell and Gareth Thomas, who have recently recovered from injuries, feature on the Blues bench, while Toulouse are minus injured forwards Benoit Lecouls, Jean-Baptiste Poux and Romain Millo-Chluski.
Gareth Thomas, who is now 34, spent three seasons with the French giants. Today he will face his former club for the Cardiff Blues at the Millennium Stadium.
“Toulouse opened my eyes as a player and as a person,” said Thomas, who in 2007 became the first Wales player to win 100 caps. “I returned to Wales 10 times better for the experience.”
“Toulouse is the biggest club in Europe, rugby’s equivalent of Real Madrid. Their game has always been about offloading and running but it is also physical, the complete package.”
Thomas won the Heineken Cup with Toulouse in 2005. He will be among the Blues replacements today but is champing at the bit for action.
“I am delighted we are playing Toulouse rather than, like the Ospreys, Munster,” said Thomas. “The beauty of the Heineken Cup is meeting teams from a different league. I am just delighted to be involved and the important thing for the boys is not to be overawed. They are good, but so are we and we are playing in our own backyard.
“I have been relishing this match ever since we qualified. It is a return to rugby’s shrine.”
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