Following the success of winning the European Challenge Cup, Richard Holland has set Cardiff Blues a target of competing in the latter stages of the Champions Cup.
The Blues return to the top tier of Europe for the first time since 2014, thanks to a much improved Guinness PRO14 campaign.
Winning the Challenge Cup was undoubtedly a crowning moment in the season and now Holland has set his sights on the top prize.
The Cardiff Blues chief executive has now put in place a new three-year plan, which will see the region regularly competing in the latter stages of the Champions Cup.
Speaking at the unveiling of new head coach John Mulvihill, Holland said: “We are going in on the back of a Challenge Cup victory but I need to make sure that it is the foundation to kick on and actually be competitive in the Champions Cup.
“We have a three-year plan which we are now implementing. The coaching group is all concluded, the playing squad is largely concluded but we will add to it to a certain extent and make some announcements in due course.
“I need to give the resource to John so he can be competitive at that level and that is not just players but coaches, support staff, academy and staff on the ground in terms of the community, the schools, clubs and colleges.
“There will be some obstacles and hurdles ahead of us but we are determined to get over them to take this team and region to the top of the European game.”
Wales’ Capital Region are already reaping the rewards of their triumphant Challenge Cup with an increase in both Season Membership sales and sponsor interest.
He said: “On the back of the Challenge Cup success we have seem an uplift in our commercial numbers, we have seen a few new sponsors sign up and our Season Membership numbers are up – in June we are just shy of our final position last season.
“I have always maintained that if people come through the gates and support us then all that money flows back into rugby, which will enable us to be more competitive. It is a team effort and that team includes the supporters and sponsors.
“We know the commercial numbers can be achieved because we have seen it in the past. For example, when we took Leicester Tigers next-door and there were 42,000 people.
“I believe if we bring success to Cardiff Blues to a greater degree the ceiling of commercial delivery is infinite because the market we have in the region. We are lucky to have it but we need to exploit it and that means putting a winning product on the field.”
And Holland insists a successful future can be built on a largely home grown foundation, which is supplemented by outside talent and experience.
He added: “It is our preference to have Welsh players in the squad. There is obviously only a certain number of professional players to go across the four regions but if we can develop through our system then it is hugely rewarding for everybody.
“It creates stability and success. This is the first team I have seen that have largely come through together as a group. It is great to see and watch. That is the preference and the strategy.”
Cardiff Blues return to the Heineken Champions Cup in October. You can secure your place at all home pool stage games with a 2018-19 Season Membership. Click here or call 029 20 302030 today.