On down, one to go for Danny Wilson. Pic: Getty Images.

Danny Wilson Tells Cardiff Blues To Seize Part Two Of European Quest

Danny Wilson has called on his Cardiff Blues to back up their European Champions Cup qualification by reaching the final of the Challenge Cup.

The Blues head coach has achieved the first target of guiding the region back into Europe’s top tournament next season.

After a five-year absence, the capital side will return to the main competition after securing entry via the Guinness Pro14 following the emphatic 45-12 victory over the Southern Kings in South Africa on Saturday.

Now, comes the second goal – to beat Pau at the Arms Park on Saturday in the Challenge Cup semi-final.

“We know the opposition we’re going to play is extremely talented,” said Wilson, who is leaving the Blues at the end of the season.

“They are a quality outfit that will be a real test for us. But in the vein of form we’re in, picking up a fair few wins, we go into it confidently and hopefully we can come away from it with what we all want, which is a European final.”

Wilson – who is joining Wasps in the summer – is hopeful Blues fans will make the game against the French club a 12,000 sell-out.

He added: “I really hope we can pack the Arms Park out because I know what a difference it makes.

“I have only really felt that in derbies and the atmosphere in derbies is phenomenal. If we can get that same atmosphere for a European semi-final then there’s no reason why we can’t go to a final.”

With the Ospreys losing to Ulster at Kingspan Stadium, the Blues’ victory in Port Elizabeth clinched their place as their rivals can no longer catch them with two matches to go.

“We were hugely motivated to achieve a goal that had been set for a long time, which was to get back into the Champions Cup,” added Wilson.

“To do it in the manner we did it, especially the first-half performance, was fantastic and showed how extremely motivated the boys have been for that goal.

“We were fully aware coming here of how dangerous the Kings are and we talked a lot this week about some of the individual players and the quality they have.

“We saw their mind-set to attack from everything and everywhere, quick throw-ins from lineouts, running from deep, but we knew if we could suffocate them and keep them in good positions then we would get some rewards.

“It was a pleasing game, a pleasing performance and it’s ended in us achieving a goal that has been set for a while now.

“For Cardiff Blues and for this groups of players it is a fantastic achievement. Every year we have improved our number of wins each year and the culmination of that is getting into the Champions Cup, which is something we’re extremely proud of.”

 

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