Cardiff Blues: Wilson looking forward to 'great day' in Europe

By Nick WebbBBC Wales Sport
Danny Wilson celebrates with Josh Turnbull
Danny Wilson has had coaching roles with three of the four Welsh regions

Cardiff Blues head coach Danny Wilson is looking forward to a "great day" at the Cardiff Arms Park when his side face French team Pau in the European Challenge Cup semi-final.

His side have already recorded doubles over Toulouse and Lyon this season.

Wilson will leave the Welsh region at the end of this season to take up a coaching role at Wasps.

"We wondered if it was our last game at the Arms Park against Ulster for a couple of us leaving," said Wilson.

"But to go back for a home semi-final, it's a great day out and hopefully we can pack out the Arms Park."

Wilson, who will become Dai Young's forwards coach at the Premiership side next season, has steered his team to eight consecutive wins with the 20-6 Challenge Cup quarter-final win in Edinburgh the latest success.

"The final goal is to make Champions Cup qualification for next season and we're passionate about doing that," he told BBC Sport Wales.

"One of the goals was making the latter stages of Europe, we did that with the quarter-final and now we're in a semi-final.

"The new regime will have their own plans, but we talked about a three-year project and we've reached every goal the board have set us to this point."

Opponents Pau, who include New Zealand backs Tom Taylor and Benson Stanley, former Australia captain Ben Mowen and ex-England flanker Steffon Armitage, defeated title-holders Stade Francais to make the last four.

"Watching the game, it shows another French team with huge powerful carriers, some real quality players that are going to cause anybody problems," Wilson reflected.

"There's some real firepower there but we're at home, we're on a good roll and... we can have a good crack at that game at the Arms Park."

Cardiff Blues beat Pau 27-12 and 22-21 during the group stages of the 2016-17 competition.

"Pau are going well, they're a big physical side but when we come to the Arms Park we've got a real buzz and we've come out on top against some big teams in the league. We came out on top against Pau last year as well, so that'll give us confidence," said 21-year-old fly-half Jarrod Evans.

Gloucester and Newcastle are the other Challenge Cup semi-finalists, with the final being staged in Bilbao along with the Champions Cup final.

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