BLUES boss Danny Wilson has warned his play-off chasing charges not to underestimate an improving Zebre ahead of their Sunday PRO 14 clash.
Cardiff travel to the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi after victory against Munster, holding off a second half fightback from the Irishmen to prevail 25-18.
The Blues’ defensive frailties resurfaced as the game wore on, with hooker Matthew Rees sin-binned for straying offside.
Wilson will have been pleased by how intelligently Cardiff – who are looking to overhaul the Toyota Cheetahs in third – ran the clock down.
He is, however, taking nothing for granted against Zebre.
“We all know it’s a tough place to go to win. Gone are the days where you go to Zebre to pick up a bonus-point win,” he added.
Wilson’s wariness is justified. Although bottom of Conference A, Zebre are just five points behind the Ospreys, and coach Michael Bradley believes there is more to come from his team.
“We’re still holding onto the top end of the league in terms of line-breaks and offloads created,” he said.
This combination of physicality and flair make Zebre a different proposition from previous seasons, says Blues forward Macauley Cook.
“They are getting better and better and we need to watch out for that,” he acknowledged.
Zebre have won four times in 2017-18, including against Connacht last week.
Since joining the old Celtic League in 2012, they have never recorded more than five wins in a season. Against a Blues team missing a host of Welsh internationals, Bradley believes Zebre can equal that total: “It’s changing times in Italian rugby. Why not?”
- Kick-off: 1pm