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TITO: FANS MUST GET ON BOARD BLUES BUS.

Byline: Adam Taylor

BLUES captain Paul Tito has urged fans unsure of the switch to Cardiff's new stadium to 'get on board'.

Tito was speaking at the unveiling of a new partnership scheme between Cardiff Bus and the Blues which will see a shuttle bus service back and forth to the new Cardiff City Stadium on match days.

And Tito, who will continue as skipper after leading the region to their first piece of silverware last season in the EDF Energy Anglo-Welsh Cup, has pleaded with fans wary of the groundshare with Cardiff City to give it a chance before passing any judgements.

"I think you just have to give it a go," said the former Taranaki second row.

"It's like buying a new car, you know.

You have to have a go and you have to try something different.

"I'm sure once they (supporters) get there they will want to get back and go there again."

Low attendances could be something of an early worry for the Blues, but it's an issue that Tito and the squad won't be worrying too much about.

"If we are winning and performing people tend to turn up so you know there's a lot of pressure on the boys this year," he said.

"We have to make sure we front up and win some early games and then the people will come.

"It's an awesome stadium, we've been down there, seen the top-class facilities and trained. The pitch is top quality, and hopefully we'll be able to play some good, attractive stuff as well."

Tito believes the Blues are a "pretty easy team to lead" which makes being captain for another season a much easier proposition.

He continued: "To lead the boys again is obviously a great honour, but it's a pretty easy team to lead as we've got a lot of old fellas in the squad and I just hope we can carry on from where we were last year."

When the big kick-off arrives against their Heineken Cup conquerors Leicester Tigers on August 21 (7.30pm), it will be a bittersweet day for rugby fans in Cardiff.

On the one hand it'll be a chance to put one over the Tigers following last season's European heartbreak as well as celebrating their new home, but on the other it also marks the end of an era at Cardiff Arms Park.

The iconic club ground is in danger of becoming a lonely figure in the Millennium Stadium's shadow due to the Blues' departure, but Tito insists the change can benefit the region.

"Obviously it's different," claimed the 31-year-old.

"It has a different feel to it, the surface is a lot better, but I'm sure once we get a good crowd in there we can recreate the Arms Park feel."

With the arrival of six new internationals, the Blues' squad will have a new look to it, in addition to the change of scenery in Leckwith.

And Tito believes that with the likes of Gareth Cooper and Sam Norton-Knight arriving from Gloucester and the Waratahs respectively to fill key positions, their presence will go a long way to helping them better last season's exploits.

"I think when you change key players in key positions, it's a big decision and Spicey (Jason Spice) and Nicky (Robinson) did a great job last year but I'm sure the boys coming in will do just as well."

However, 'good' may not be enough after all the Blues accomplished in 2008-2009. So following their heroics in the EDF Energy Cup and their agonising penalty-kick exit in Europe, Tito is sure that silverware must be won in order to maintain progress.

"Obviously we're looking to improve so we need to win something and hopefully we can do that," he said.

"We've got a pretty tough pool in the Heineken Cup and if we get out of that I'd say we were doing pretty well.

"Hopefully we'll knock 'em down and come out of it at the end of the pool stages."

The shuttle bus service for Blues supporters is free for season ticket holders and costs pounds 2 for non-season ticket holders.

CAPTION(S):

An aerial view of the New Cardiff City Stadium, which will be home to both Cardiff City FC and Cardiff Blues RFC. Pictured above are Blues' new signings Darren Morris, right, and Sam Norton-Knight, getting their first look at the new stadium Paul Tito helps launch the shuttle bus service which will transport Blues fans to the Cardiff City Stadium PICTURE: Huw Evans Agency, Cardiff
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 6, 2009
Words:759
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