Danny Wilson was left feeling extremely proud of his side, following a gutsy display against a fully-loaded Ospreys team at Judgement Day.
With one eye on the Challenge Cup final in Bilbao in less than two weeks, Wilson made 13 changes from the side that beat Pau in the semi final last week.
Scores from Gareth Anscombe and Garyn Smith saw Cardiff Blues ahead for long periods of the game, but Dan Biggar’s late drop goal ultimately secured a 26-23 victory for Allan Clarke’s side,
Wilson was delighted with his side’s attitude at the Principality Stadium, and insists places remain up-for-grabs for the San Mames Stadium showdown on May 11.
“First of all, I’m extremely proud of the boys we had out there today,” said Wilson.
“We made 13 changes from the semi final last week, we had a bench containing a few boys from the academy and to go up against a fully-loaded Ospreys side, who had a full week off to prepare, and to put that effort and commitment to the fixture had left me feeling very proud of that group.
“Inevitably under that amount of pressure, in terms of field territory and possession, you’re ultimately going to struggle. But some of the defensive work around the 22 against a strong Ospreys side, we can be extremely proud of what the group achieved.
“They rested a number of key players against Zebre last week, ahead of today’s game, and they’ve had a much better tail-end to the campaign, picking up important results.
"The performance, and to lose by only three points, proved that we maintained very competitive.
"There are a lot of positives to take from today ahead of a week where we will do a couple of training sessions before a good-old build-up into what will be a great weekend for the whole squad, staff and supporters.
“Some certainly put their hands up ahead of the final in Bilbao in a couple of weeks. We picked up a lot of bumps from the semi final last week. Some of our changes were forced while others were based around prioritising a European final.
“It’s the biggest game for the region in eight years, and when Judgement Day has no relevant in terms of potentially changing league position, having already qualified for the Champions Cup, we made the right decisions to not disrespect what is a very important and popular fixture.”