Cardiff Blues: Bristol's Danny Wilson first choice for head coach

Danny Wilson
Danny Wilson left Scarlets to join Bristol as forwards coach in 2014

Bristol forwards coach Danny Wilson is Cardiff Blues' preferred choice for their vacant head coach's position, BBC Wales Sport understands.

Wilson, who has previously worked with Scarlets, Dragons and Wales Under-20s, heads a five-man shortlist.

The role was by vacated by Mark Hammett just six months into a three-year deal.

Hammett did not have his own coaching team but Blues say his successor will have control over his staff.

"It's important to stress the board have made a commitment that all rugby-related decisions have to be the decision of the head coach," said Blues chief executive Richard Holland.

Wilson joined English Championship side Bristol in 2014, but could be prised away with the prospects of a three-year deal after the club failed to win promotion to the Premiership following a play-off defeat to Worcester.

Former Blues director of rugby Hammett departed in February, asking to leave for "personal reasons".

Dale McIntosh and Paul John took caretaker charge of the team for the remainder of the season and both men have applied for the head coach role.

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley and former Ulster boss Mark Anscombe - father of Blues fly-half Gareth - have also been linked with the job.

Holland says interviews have now been completed and Wales head coach Warren Gatland had assisted him in the process.

"We're not a million miles away," said Holland.

"The number of applicants was incredible. We had over 35 applications and we interviewed a shortlist of five.

"I'm encouraged by the process that we followed and let's hope we can get things sorted."

Holland was speaking before embarking on a charity cycle ride to Paris in aid of Blues centre Owen Williams.

Wales international Williams, 23, suffered a spinal injury playing for the region in a 10-a-side event in Singapore in June 2014.

"It's been almost a year now and the support has been incredible from so different many areas," Holland said.

"The rugby community has pulled together, not just within Wales but outside of it."