Danny Wilson has paid tribute to a trio of leaders after Cardiff Blues slipped to a Judgement Day defeat to the Ospreys.
Following four consecutive Guinness PRO12 triumphs, Wales’ Capital Region were targeting a place in the top six.
Their hopes were ended at the Principality Stadium but while disappointed with the result, Wilson is pleased with the progress made this season and paid a special mention to Gethin Jenkins, Gareth Anscombe and Sam Warburton.
He said: “It’s credit to the players this season that up until now, with one game to go, they have been outstanding as a group.
“A big mention to our leaders – Gethin Jenkins, Sam Warburton and Gareth Anscombe.
“Those three in particular have been huge for us with on and off the field contributions in a season that has slowly moved in the right direction.
“The Champions Cup is the goal, we have put down a platform this season and that was important for us.
“First of all, creating a home environment where it is difficult for teams to come and beat us and we have achieved that. Two, to get pride back in derbies and I think four wins out of six achieves that, we’ve got some pride back but ultimately today is a disappointment.”
The lead changed hands seven times in a thrilling spectacle for the neutral but Wilson was disappointed that his side failed to close out the game.
They were one-point ahead of the Ospreys with less than eight minutes to go but Rhys Webb proved the difference with a late brace.
Wilson added: “It was a game we could’ve won. I thought we controlled the first hour of the game, we controlled the contact area and put together some decent attacks.
“But ultimately it’s come down to what we’ve conceded. We’ve conceded three very soft tries - two that started off bases of scrums, five metres from our own line that we’re rock solid and we can’t exit, turn it over and they score from those resulting situations.
“We struggled with kick offs a little bit, they got them back, which gave them a bit of a foothold after we scored points.
“And we probably struggled with Rhys Webb, who I thought was the standout performer from their point of view. He caused major problems for us.
“We take a lot of credit from parts of our performance today, and we’ve built massively to get to this point.
“We played some good rugby, put them under pressure, we stole a huge amount of ball at the contact area and breakdown.
“I think we had six contact turnovers in the first half, scored two good tries in the second half but ultimately the last period of the game has gone away from us, through the key moments I mentioned.
“It’s just disappointing at the moment that we’ve scored 27 points in this game but lost.”