Jenkins bemoans injuries as Cardiff suffer Champions Cup disappointment in Paris

19 May 2017 08:39

Cardiff Blues captain Ellis Jenkins bemoaned his side's bad luck with injuries after a 46-21 defeat to Stade Francais in Paris ended their hopes of playing Champions Cup rugby next season.

Danny Wilson's men capitulated after the break to concede six of the seven tries Stade recorded in the match, but they were not helped by losing five key men on the night.

Wing Tom James pulled out in the warm-up, his replacement Rhun Williams limped off in the first half, while Rey Lee-Lo, Steve Shingler, Willis Halaholo and Kirby Myhill also left the field over the course of the 80 minutes.

At the full-time whistle, it left flanker Jenkins playing centre and throwing into the line-out.

He said: "We were in a good position, but struggled with injuries. We lost pretty much all of our backs during the game and we were our own worst enemies at times.

"We made silly mistakes and a couple of dropped balls in their half allowed them to go the length. It was tough once they brought their strength off the bench and we had so many injuries.

"We're not making excuses, Stade are a good team, but when you miss key players it gets really tough."

Wilson's Blues had defied the early loss of James and Williams to lead 14-10 at the break thanks to tries from Macauley Cook and Nick Williams.

Waisea Vuidarvuwalu had scored Stade's try, but the home team dominated the second half as the wheels fell off for the patched-up Blues.

Giorgi Melikidze, Mathieu De Giovanni, Laurent Panis and Clement Daguin all crossed for the French giants, while wing Sekou Macalou scored twice within seven minutes.

Fly-half Morne Steyn ended the game with 11 points, as Cook's second for the Blues was rendered meaningless.

Wilson's team will now play in the Challenge Cup next season, while Stade will face either Northampton Saints or Connacht in the Champions Cup play-off final.

Jenkins said: "Stade had some great players off their bench. They were clinical and they have some serious pace out wide. They punished us there.

"Our aim at the start of the season was to make the top six and we started really well, but we've fallen away. That's very disappointing and we haven't qualified for the Champions Cup.

"We need to be more consistent. We've been good in some games and let ourselves down in others.

"Squad depth has a lot to do with that, but we need more consistency in our performances if we're going to improve."

Source: PA