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Lewis confident Cardiff Blues can progress further in Challenge Cup

22nd January 2018

Dillon Lewis is confident Cardiff Blues can progress further in the European Challenge Cup, after Wales' Capital Region side topped the 'Pool of Death' to earn a quarter-final clash against Edinburgh.

The prop was named at tighthead for Saturday’s away win over Lyon, where the Blues side made it five victories out of six Challenge Cup fixtures this season.

Lewis’ close friend, outside half Jarrod Evans, produced a man-of-the-match performance, setting up both tries at Matmut Stadium, to help his side secure a double over the TOP14 outfit, having also won both pool stage matches against Toulouse.

Despite securing qualification with a game to spare, Lewis insists the Cardiff Blues squad remained firmly focused on continuing to build momentum at Lyon ahead of a return to Guinness PRO14 action in three weeks time when Danny Wilson's side welcome Cheetahs to the Welsh capital.

Lewis said: “There was a bit of a chat from the outside the camp that it was going to be a nothing game, but for us all the talk was asking ‘Why finish the group stages with a loss?’

“It’s something we wanted to win in order to pick up momentum and was a game that the boys took seriously in the build-up.

“It’s important now for us to concentrate on our game. We’re capable of playing good rugby and we’ve got real aspirations of going forward and kicking on in this competition.

“Going away for the quarter final is something we’ll have to get our minds on. Preparations will be good for that and the boys will be up for it.

“You’ve seen that Jarrod is a very exciting player and as an outside half it’s priceless to have him take the ball to the line. You either give it or take the defender on, and we’ve seen how dangerous he can be and he set-up two tries for the win.”

The win at Matmut Stadium capped off an exciting few days for the young prop, who was named in Warren Gatland’s squad for the upcoming NatWest Six Nations campaign earlier in the week.

Lewis made his senior debut for Wales during the summer tour against Tonga, before going on to start the clash against Samoa a week later. Lewis admits the Six Nations is a different proposition altogether and insists he will be heading into camp looking to learn from experienced international players around him.

“The call-up definitely came as a shock to me. I’ve had two seasons where I’ve picked up some bad injuries and maybe not had a lot of game-time under my belt,” said Lewis.

“It’s something I’m very excited about and it will be a massive experience for me to go into that environment now.

“Hopefully I’ll learn a lot from the boys around me in the camp. 

“It will almost be like your first day at school. There will be a lot of experienced guys around - the likes of Alun Wyn Jones, Tomas Francis, Samson Lee - and I can learn heaps from those boys.

“I’ll go in there and be like a sponge, trying to absorb everything and then see what comes my way.”