Alex Cuthbert is under no illusions that Saturday's Guinness PRO14 clash with Southern Kings is a must win encounter for Cardiff Blues.
Following last week’s agonising injury-time defeat to Toyota Cheetahs, the Blues know they must prevail in Port Elizabeth to further consolidate fourth place in Conference A.
The Ospreys are hot on their heels, with a game in hand, but another win would take the Blues a step closer to European Champions Cup rugby.
Cuthbert said: “You could say we are disappointed not to have come away with a win against the Cheetahs but with the travel arrangements and what happened, if you had offered us a point we would have bitten your arm off.
“After that we’re going into this week knowing it is a must win game considering what is at stake with the Champions cup next year.
“We need to keep on top of the Ospreys, who are right behind us so a win this weekend is a must and we have prepared like that. This is a big game for all of us.”
Wales’ Capital Region spent the week in Cape Town, training at the Stormers and Western Province high performance centre, before jetting to Port Elizabeth.
Southern Kings have only recorded two victories this season but have run a lot of teams close and Cuthbert knows they cannot be underestimated.
He continued: “We’ve had two good training days this week. It’s a little bit hotter here than it will be on Saturday night but we’ve got a good few hours training under our belt.
“The Kings will be physical -like both the South African teams they have a very dangerous back three and couple of ball-carriers that are very strong.
“But for us it’s about playing our own game and hopefully we can start a little better than we did last week. If we implement what we have trained on this week hopefully it will work out.”
It is certainly a critical couple of weeks for Cardiff Blues with play-off places and Champions Cup qualification at stake in the PRO14 and a Challenge Cup semi-final against Pau at the Arms Park next week.
And for Cuthbert there is even greater motivation given that these are his final weeks at Cardiff Blues following the announcement of his summer move to Exeter Chiefs.
The powerful wing has spent seven seasons at the Arms Park, scoring 45 tries and winning international honours with Wales and the British & Irish Lions.
He added: “A win here would make that travel back a lot easier going into such a big week next week with that semi-final.
“A lot of boys are playing for places for that semi but first of all it’s about getting the result this weekend. Hopefully we can start well and play for the full 80, it’s going to be a completed 23-man squad effort.
“For me personally I’ve been in the squad for such a long time it would be great to leave with the boys in the Champions Cup for next year.
“That’s a big motivation and another is playing well for myself after coming back from such a long injury and getting involved in that semi-final.
“Those are the big games you want to play in, especially at the Arms Park. It would be a nice send off if I do get selected for that game next week.”
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