Nick Williams has laid down the gauntlet to Cardiff Blues as they bid to qualify for next season's Heineken Champions Cup.
The number eight led the Blues to a convincing 33-14 victory over Lyon as they drew the curtain on this season’s European campaign.
It took the Blues’ tally to two wins in their first campaign at the top table of European rugby since 2014.
Attention now turns to the Guinness PRO14 and ensuring Wales’ Capital Region return to Europe’s elite next season. There is work to do with the Ospreys and Connacht five points clear, sitting third and fourth in Conference A.
With eight regular season games remaining, all is to play for and Williams knows a crucial period kicks off with next Saturday’s clash with play-off rivals Connacht.
He said: “This is why we play the game. We have seven or eight games left and we have to win 75 per cent of them.
“It’s a tough ask but it’s been done before and we will be up for the challenge. These games, (Lyon win and Glasgow defeat) will put us in good stead moving forward.
“Connacht will be a tough outfit next week but we’ll worry about that next week, now it’s patching up the bodies and trying to get the numbers right and keep ourselves honest.
“This (Heineken Champions Cup) is the big boys league, we have a few young boys floating around in the squad and if they want to play top level rugby then this is the standard needed. It’s a matter of trying to bring that young, next stock through and leaving the Blues in a better place.”
Williams, who led Wales’ Capital Region out at the Arms Park with his two eldest daughters, left it with a beaming smile having put in another monumental 70 minute shift.
It is clear, the New Zealander of Samoan heritage, is still loving every minute on the pitch and he was both honoured and delighted to cap his first occasion as captain with an impressive win.
He added: “I said in the changing room both pre and post-game that we have nothing to lose and that we seem to pull it out of the bag when it’s like that.
“I wanted the boys to play with smiles on their faces, like they were playing in the back yard and I thought the boys did it justice. I’m very proud of the lads and very honoured to have captained the boys.
“I’m pretty proud, I’m not one of those blokes to scream in your ear or try to give you a Martin Luther King speech, I would rather lead by action and hopefully the boys follow behind me.
“I try to take every game as another game but I was blessed and lucky to have that captaincy badge this week and I’m happy the boys made it one out of one. Long may it reign!”
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