NEWPORT Gwent Dragons’ Boxing Day showdown with Cardiff Blues will be the defining game in deciding which of the two sides clinch a Heineken Cup spot.
That’s the view of lock Rob Sidoli who is seeking to avenge his former region’s 16-5 victory over the Dragons at Rodney Parade in September.
With the four Welsh regions chasing three Heineken Cup places, the Boxing Day clash between the Dragons and Blues at Cardiff Arms Park could be crucial.
The Scarlets, who are second in the PRO12, and Ospreys, sixth, look to have nailed down two of those qualifying berths.
But the Blues are just seven points ahead of the Dragons, who have a game in hand over their rivals.
Victory for the visitors would make things a lot more interesting and give the Dragons’ season far more purpose as they look for just their fourth league win in 11 attempts.
“It is the defining game, a huge clash and derby matches – especially over the Christmas period – are the ones that mean everything to the player involved and to the supporters,” said 2005 Grand Slam winner Sidoli.
“It’s a huge game in front of what will hopefully be a huge crowd.
“We’ve had a very slow start to the season and they beat us at home earlier in the campaign.
“At the moment it’s between us and them for that final spot for Europe so this is a game that if we win, we can close the gap and start to push up the table.”
Sidoli, 33, admitted losing the home derby clash to the Blues was a bitter pill to swallow but the Dragons are confident they can put things right on Wednesday.
“We were so disappointed to lose to them earlier in the season so we have to do it the hard way and rectify it by going away and going after them,” he said.
“It wasn’t a good spectacle of a game a few months ago, which was disappointing, so hopefully this Boxing Day fixture can be a great game to watch and be a part of and which will turn the momentum our way.
“Form doesn’t seem to count in derby games.
“On the day, it’s about that general hunger and whoever is the most hungry will be the team that comes out on top.”