Danny Wilson has hailed the "outstanding achievement" of Cardiff Blues after they qualified for the European Challenge Cup knockout stages for the second consecutive season.
Tries from Tomos Williams and man-of-the-match Gareth Anscombe sealed an 18-13 victory against Toulouse at the Arms Park on Sunday, completing a famous double over the four-times former Heineken Cup winners.
The Blues travel to Lyon for the final pool stage match on Saturday having already qualified for the quarter-finals, however the odds are against Wilson’s side securing a home tie when the teams are cut to eight.
Wilson was proud to see his side qualify from such a tough pool, and believes securing the double over Toulouse proves that their achievement is no fluke.
“We’ve won the group now, which is a massive achievement considering you had Toulouse, Lyon and Sale in there, which is the toughest group we’ve had in my time here,” said Wilson.
“We’ve qualified for the quarter finals with a game to spare, and that’s an outstanding achievement.
“We don’t want to go to Lyon and drop away from what we’ve done. We want to go to Lyon to perform before going back into the PRO14.
“We all know momentum is an important thing. We’ll have a look at the groups and make sure our maths are correct going into prep for the Lyon game.
“We’ve beaten Toulouse both home and away. That shows consistency and shows it’s not a one-off. Over two games we have been the better team.
“There was a great atmosphere again. You really heard that crowd and they got behind us. It makes all the difference, and the more we can pack out the Arms Park, the more likely we are to get over the line with that little bit extra.
“It’s a huge lift for all of us to get a home win against the European heavyweights.”
Toulouse named a strong side for the encounter, with 12 internationals in their matchday squad, including the likes of Gael Fickou, Charlie Faumuina, Joe Tekori and Antoine Dupont.
Nick Williams, Ellis Jenkins and Josh Turnbull were all denied tries after the intervention of the TMO, while the introduction of Steven Shingler and Lloyd Williams put the French outfit on the back foot.
Wilson was delighted to see his side’s get the upper hand in the set-pieces, as well as tactically, and insists the attitude of the squad played an important role in the performance.
Wilson said: “We had three disallowed tries and still managed to win the game against a star-studded Toulouse team. That’s not a Toulouse team that was sent here to turn up just to play the game, it was a very strong selected side.
“Perhaps we could’ve got clear from them - we didn’t but stayed in the fight and the attitude from the players today on both sides of the ball, attack and defence, was outstanding.
“We changed the half backs because of the experience of Lloyd [Williams] and Shings. They were leaving a lot of backfield space because our game early on had tested them a little bit, and they were playing with one full back and we weren’t taking those holes.
“We wanted Shings and Lloyd to come on a play a bit more of a controlled game, and you saw the mixture of Jarrod’s running threat and then Shings kicking into those spaces and put them under pressure, which was superb.
"There was a huge effort shown to be as dominant as we were and where I’m also pleased is where we dealt with their threats. It’s the third game now where a driving line-out hasn’t caused us any problems, against three teams who have had very good driving line-outs.
"Our scrum has massively improved and that was a big scrum from Toulouse, and I thought we were excellent. We picked a back five in the pack that’s a bit more athletic and not necessarily a set-piece back five.
“Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees and Fa’ao Filise all did an outstanding job and then the replacements came on and also scrummaged well.
“The scrum session we had during the week was nasty but was well called for and credit to the players for executing when it counts.
“Not only did we play our game, but we also stopped them from playing their game as well.”