Following his first season at the helm of Cardiff Blues, Danny Wilson is even hungrier for success.
A testing start to the Guinness PRO12 campaign saw Wales’ Capital Region lose six of their first seven games but Wilson steadied the ship and introduced an exciting style of play.
Eight wins from 12 matches in 2016 saw the region climb to seventh in the league table and while they missed out on a place in the top tier European Champions Cup, plenty of progress was made.
They finished the season as the second highest points and try-scorers in the competition and with four Welsh derby wins in comparison to two in 2014-15.
Two defeats to Zebre and Treviso in Italy proved particularly costly and had the Blues picked up another two wins, they would have finished in the top six.
And while disappointing, with the continued development and understanding of Wilson’s brand of rugby combined with summer reinforcement, the Cardiff Blues head coach is optimistic.
Reflecting on his first season, Wilson said: “I’m excited about the future of Cardiff Blues.
“After my first year I’m even more motivated for us to kick on from what we have been through and achieved this year.
“It was a tough run away from home at the start of the season, we came off the back of that tough period and were in the bottom part of the table, we were way off the sides ahead of us.
“But there’s certainly been fight in the players to achieve some good wins at the tail end of the season and to create a home venue we can be proud of.
“We performed poorly in Zebre and we didn’t look like winning the game. That was a slap in the face and a wake up call for all of us.
“Treviso we created so many opportunities and were over the line three times but couldn’t ground it or dropped the ball over the line. We created more than enough opportunities.
“It wasn’t the way we performed but the way we finished and that’s the game we look back on and say had we got over the line we would have done what was needed.
“That is a learning curve for us for next season. We need to be harder nosed and more clinical when we go to those places
“But two of our goals was to win derbies and to create a home environment that we are proud of and we have achieved those, however we still have a long way to go.”
Wilson has made seven signings for next season with Kirby Myhill, George Earle and Steven Shingler joining from the Scarlets, Rhys Gill from Saracens, Nick Williams from Ulster, Matthew Morgan from Bristol and Willis Halaholo from the Hurricanes.
And the new blood will bring a greater strength in depth to compliment the senior core of players already at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
Wilson continued: “We have a group of senior players and leaders who are instrumental in driving Cardiff Blues forward.
“We have senior pros here who are very knowledgeable, have strong opinions and it’s a collective approach from players and coaches leading this region forward.
“Next season we need a squad that’s quality over quantity, we’ve addressed that and have some players who will bring some quality to back up what we already have.
“But the group of players here now, the ones who are staying and the ones leaving have worked extremely hard this season and have been commendable from a professional point of view.”