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Wilson hungry to finish Challenge Cup pool stage on a high

18th January 2018

Danny Wilson is hungry to finish the European Challenge Cup pool stage on a high, as Cardiff Blues prepare to travel to Lyon on Saturday, having already secured qualification for the quarter-final.

Tries from Tomos Williams and Gareth Anscombe sealed a famous 18-13 win over Toulouse on Sunday, seeing the Blues book their place in the knockout stages for a second consecutive season.
Hopes for a home draw in the next round remain slim, with Wilson’s side relying on Oyonnax to deny Connacht a single point in the clash at The Sportsground earlier in the day.
With two rounds of Anglo-Welsh Cup fixtures coming up, Wilson insists a win on Saturday will boost momentum ahead of a return to PRO14 action when the Blues host Cheetahs on February 10.
“Ultimately we’re going to Lyon to win. We certainly don’t want to finish with a loss in this group, which we’ve performed very well in,” said Wilson.
“As a group, we know how important momentum is and I’m confident we’ll pick a team who are confident and will approach the game with the relevant manner to get an away win.
“We beat Lyon at home, we beat Toulouse home and away and if we can get another French scalp it will be a big achievement. The important thing for us is to keep rolling with the momentum.
“We’ve done what we can do in qualifying for the quarter finals. We can’t influence whether we get a home tie and the odds are very highly stacked against us to get that.
“We were obviously really pleased with the end result of qualifying for the quarter final and winning our group with a game to go. 
“If you had said that to me when the group was announced I certainly would’ve taken it. Toulouse and Sale were both in the Champions Cup the season before and Lyon are going extremely well in the league and are heavyweights in France in terms of budget.
“To come out of that group, winning it with a game to spare, is a great achievement.
“Last year we made the quarter finals and making the quarter finals was part of the goal this season and we’ve achieved that.
“It comes back to one off-games. Last year, we went to Gloucester and came unstuck in the last 20 minutes, and we certainly want to go one better than that this year.”
Reflecting on Sunday’s victory over four-times former Heineken Cup winners, Toulouse, Wilson was pleased to see the experience of Steven Shingler and Lloyd Williams make an impact from the bench at half back.
The visitors named a strong side for the clash, including internationals Gael Fickou, Joe Tekori and Richie Gray, and Wilson was delighted to see the Blues counter Toulouse’s threats which allowed the home side to play their own brand of rugby.
Wilson said: “In terms of the performance on Sunday, we certainly needed to make sure that we didn’t allow Toulouse to get their scrum, line-out and power-game going, and we certainly stopped those areas really well, which gave us an opportunity to put our own imprint on the game.
“Steven Shingler and Lloyd Williams came on at a time we needed a controlling element on the game.
“Toulouse were leaving huge holes in the backfield, which we weren’t taking, and those boys came on and took those holes with clever kicks that almost strangled Toulouse and got them stuck in their 22, which was pleasing.”