Cardiff Blues: Danny Wilson targets success at Arms Park

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

New head coach Danny Wilson hopes to lead Cardiff Blues up the Pro12 table and into the European Champions Cup.

The 38-year-old has been appointed on a three-year contract after leaving Bristol, where he was forwards coach.

Blues lost to Dragons in the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals and finished 10th in the Pro12 last season.

"In the long term, climbing the league and, ultimately, getting back into European rugby has to be a goal for the region," said Wilson.

"Where and when that happens is something we need to do and make assessments from getting in the door."

Wilson said the club's board recognised it was a "long-term project".

"The capital city needs the Cardiff Blues performing and climbing the league and that is exactly what we intend to do," he added.

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

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

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

Blues won seven Pro12 games in the 2014-15 season, losing 14, and will compete in the Challenge Cup next season.

The Welsh region have not competed in the top-tier of European rugby since 2013-14.

"Obviously, 10th in the league is not where the Cardiff Blues want to be," said Wilson.

"It's a club which is steeped in history and tradition and it's something that I'm really looking forward to getting started.

"There's a bit of work to be done there, but it's something I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth into."

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

"The view of the board and the view of Cardiff Blues is that rugby decisions will be down to the head coach," he said.

"Obviously there are other people involved in decisions like in any other job, but the relevant decisions for rugby will down to myself.

"And I think for the future that's important for the job and to be accountable for what you do."

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 Blues

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 and their future has yet to be decided.

"It's important that I make decisions on staff within the rugby environment and make sure that they're the right ones," said Wilson.

"I'll get in there and assess some of the guys that are in there and there are some decisions that need to be made early on what Cardiff Blues needs.

"That process will happen and it will start for me on Monday and in the short term, there will be some announcements made on that."

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