Cardiff Blues can enjoy exciting end to season, says backs coach Matt Sherratt

Cardiff Blues backs and attacks coach Matt Sherratt will become Ospreys backs coach next season
Cardiff Blues backs and attacks coach Matt Sherratt will become Ospreys backs coach next season

Backs coach Matt Sherratt says Cardiff Blues can look forward to an exciting end to the season, after reaching the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

The Welsh side go to Edinburgh, who finished as fourth-ranked side in the pool stages, with Blues in fifth.

"They're a very tough team, [head coach] Richard Cockerill's gone in with a number of new coaches and changed the culture there," said Sherratt.

The match will be played on the weekend of 29 March to 1 April.

Edinburgh won the team's most recent meeting 20-10 at Cardiff Arms Park, in the opening game of the Pro14 season.

Blues will have home advantage against either Pau or Stade Francais in the semi-finals if they win in Edinburgh, although the Scots would have to travel to France if they reach the last four.

"They're a much more difficult team to beat, very resilient defensively, so we'll have to be at our best to go there and stand a chance of winning," Sherratt told BBC Sport Wales.

He was speaking after the Blues completed a second double over French sides in the 2017-18 season, winning 21-18 in Lyon to add to their victories over Toulouse.

Fly-half Jarrod Evans signed his first senior Cardiff Blues contract in 2015 after coming through the academy
Fly-half Jarrod Evans signed his first senior Cardiff Blues contract in 2015 after coming through the academy

"It's great going into February and March knowing you've got an exciting end to the season. We're fourth in our (Pro14) pool, so the next two or three league games will determine whether we make the Champions Cup next year.

"Then at the end of March we've got the excitement of a quarter-final, which is fantastic for the region," said Sherratt.

"When we drew this group, everyone was saying it could be a Champions Cup group, so to do the double over Toulouse and Lyon is massively pleasing."

Good Evans

Sherratt paid tribute to 21-year-old fly-half Jarrod Evans for creating two tries in Lyon, as well as to the replacement front-row for successfully defending a French scrum-five with the last move of the game.

"To score on the stroke of half-time with good play from Jarrod and a good finish from Lloyd Williams was key," he added.

"Jarrod's a cracking running 10 and if any team gives him a bit of space, he's got the ability to hurt them with brilliant inside support from both nines (Lloyd Williams and Tomos Williams) for both tries.

"Our last five or six games have gone to the last play, we thought it might be a bit more relaxing!

"But credit to the whole squad, we had Brad Thyer come on, Scott Andrews and Kirby Myhill who haven't played a lot of rugby for a while, and to front up as they did it was massive."

Cardiff Blues now face Anglo-Welsh Cup fixtures against Leicester and London Irish, before returning to the Pro14 with a home fixture against South Africa's Cheetahs on 10 February.

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