Danny Wilson is excited for the test awaiting his side in the 2017/18 European Challenge Cup, after being drawn against Sale Sharks, Lyon and Toulouse in Pool 2.
Wales’ Capital Region reached the quarter final of the 2016/17 Challenge Cup, before losing to eventual finalists Gloucester at Kingsholm.
Wilson once again expects his side to target a place in the knock-out stages, and believes the attractive away destinations can attract a large travelling contingent to give the Blues a boost.
“It’s certainly an exciting and challenging group, and we’re going to come up against three very good sides,” said Wilson.
“Last year we experienced the highs of qualifying for a cup quarter-final, progressing past another tough group, and I think we have to target another place in the knock-out stages this time around.
“Of course, we also felt the lows of being losing at Kingsholm, but these are the type of games you want to be involved in as a coaching team and as a squad.
“Toulouse have been giants in the European cup competitions for a number of years and boast an impressive squad of experienced internationals across the board.
“Sale Sharks and Lyon, likewise, have a great deal of depth in their squads respectively, but we’ve seen at times last season that we can compete against quality opposition.
“I also think these are the type of games that will be attractive to our supporters.
“Not only will we be welcoming some big name players to Cardiff Arms Park, but there are also three great away trips there for the supporters, which should see a large travel contingent of supporters there to give the side an extra boost.
“As we’ve seen in Gloucester, Bath, Pau, Stade Francais, Bristol during last season, the Cardiff Blues supporters travel in numbers and make themselves heard, which is always a big motivation for the boys.”
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European Challenge Cup Pool Stage 2017/18
Pool One: Newcastle Falcons, Newport Gwent Dragons, Bordeaux, Enisei-STM
Pool Two: Cardiff Blues, Sale Sharks, Lyon, Toulouse
Pool Three: Gloucester, Pau, Zebre, Agen
Pool Four: Stade Francais, Edinburgh, London Irish, Krasny Yar
Pool Five: Brive, Connacht, Worcester, Oyonnax
EPCR key dates - 2017/18 season
Round 1: 12/13/14/15 October
Round 2: 19/20/21/22 October
Round 3: 7/8/9/10 December
Round 4: 14/15/16/17 December
Round 5: 11/12/13/14 January 2018
Round 6: 18/19/20/21 January 2018
Quarter-finals: 29/30/31 March - 1 April 2018
Semi-finals: 20/21/22 April 2018
Bilbao Finals 2018
Challenge Cup final: Friday 11 May, San Mamés Stadium
Champions Cup final: Saturday 12 May, San Mamés Stadium