Jarrod Evans is ready for a massive month ahead as Cardiff Blues moved a step closer to European Champions Cup rugby and a Guinness PRO14 play-off place.
The 21-year-old fly-half picked up the Guinness man-of-the-match award as he guided the Blues to a bonus-point victory with a 20-point haul.
Evans scored a try and had a hand in two more on an impressive afternoon at Cardiff Arms Park.
The victory cut the Cheetahs’ lead in third place back to five-points and stretched the advantage over Connacht to 13 points with just three regular season PRO14 games left.
Attention now turns to Europe with a Challenge Cup quarter-final against Edinburgh on Saturday and a home semi-final the prize up for grabs.
Evans said: “We’re into a different competition next week with Europe and that’s a big focus for us to try and get another home game back at the Arms Park.
“Then we’re out to South Africa and the Cheetahs are right there with us. It’s going to be a big month ahead.
“Edinburgh is a big one for us – I remember it was the first game of the season that we lost to them. They are a different team under Richard Cockerill, they are going well in the league and we’re going well so it all makes for a good game up in Murrayfield.”
The Blues remain very much alive in both competitions and both offer a route back to the top table of European rugby.
With games running out every point counts and it was vital that the Blues kicked on following a positive start against Ulster to secure the bonus-point following the Cheetahs’ maximum-points haul on Friday.
Evans and Blaine Scully both crossed in the first-half, while the former Wales Under-20s star put Kristian Dacey away in the second-half but it looked like a fourth try may go begging.
However, the Blues fought to the death and Evans manufactured another try in injury time for Dillon Lewis to send the home crowd into raptures.
He added: “The Cheetahs had five-points so we had a chat as leaders on the field before that penalty on the 69th minute.
“There was a big debate and a few of us wanted to go for the try there and then but luckily it all panned out the way it did.
“The right thing to do was to look after the game first because they have boys can hurt you but luckily we got that kick-off back at the end and were able to have another crack.
“Everyone was out on their feet but credit to the boys for digging in, the forwards put a big shift in, the outside backs, the centres Willis and Rey… we just came with a good attitude and that was the difference.
“Against Treviso we were a bit off it but this week we put a big emphasis on the first 20 minutes and starting the game well. I thought we did that and although we had a patch just after half-time but for three quarters of that game we were outstanding.
“We said all week that we can’t give them space. They have a dangerous backline, they have world-class players throughout their back-line and we felt if we got our defence right we could shut them down.
“If you give them time they can really hurt you but we shut them down really well, we cut their thinking time down and made it hard for them.”