Cardiff Blues confirm Danny Wilson as new head coach

Danny Wilson led Wales Under-20 to a third-place finish at the 2012 Junior World Championships.
Danny Wilson led Wales Under-20 to a third-place finish at the 2012 Junior World Championships.

Cardiff Blues have appointed Danny Wilson as head coach on a three-year contract following his departure from Bristol.

The 38-year-old, who has previously worked with Scarlets and Dragons, replaces Mark Hammett, who left just six months into a three-year deal.

The former Wales Under-20 head coach will link up with Blues for the start of pre-season, after Bristol agreed to release him early from his contract.

"I am proud and excited," said Wilson.

Former Blues director of rugby Hammett did not have his own coaching team, but Blues say Wilson will appoint his own backroom staff in the coming weeks.

Wilson joined English Championship side Bristol in 2014 as forwards coach, but leaves after the club failed to win promotion to the Premiership following a play-off defeat to Worcester.

"I'd like to firstly thank Andy Robinson and Bristol Rugby for their understanding and support with allowing me to take up this opportunity. I wish them every success in the forthcoming season and the future," said Wilson.

"I'm now looking forward to getting started at Cardiff Arms Park, a place steeped in history and tradition, and building an environment, culture and squad that will take us forward in the long-term.

"Cardiff Blues has always enjoyed fantastic support from its dedicated fans and I would encourage them to now get right behind us and be part of the journey over the coming years."

Dale McIntosh and Paul John, who took caretaker charge of the team after Hammett's departure in February, also applied for the head coach role.

Dale McIntosh (L) and Paul John (R) played and coached together at Pontypridd before joining Cardiff Blues
Dale McIntosh (left) and Paul John (right) played and coached together at Pontypridd before joining Cardiff Blues

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley and former Ulster boss Mark Anscombe - father of Blues fly-half Gareth - were also linked with the job, with Wales head coach Warren Gatland assisting Blues chief executive Richard Holland in the recruitment process.

But Wilson, who left Scarlets to join Bristol as forwards coach in 2014, was the preferred option.

"Danny has an outstanding track record in coaching, a fantastic reputation across the game and has all the qualities and ambition needed to drive our region forward in the long-term," said Holland.

"He understands the culture of Welsh rugby and has significant experience, in both the international and regional game. We're excited to see the legacy Danny builds here."

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