Cardiff Blues coach Danny Wilson has revealed his pride at guiding the region back into the Champions Cup.
The Blues secured qualification to Europe’s top tier with an emphatic 45-12 Pro14 win away to Southern Kings in South Africa.
Wilson is leaving the Blues at the end of the season to join Wasps.
“The first goal we set ourselves over a three-year period in my time here was to get the Blues back in the Champions Cup and we’ve achieved that,” he said.
“We will reflect on that and be proud to be here,” said Wilson.
The Blues have spent four seasons in the second tier Challenge Cup.
“Things take time and of the three-year period at the end of the season we have achieved two of the goals we have set,” Wilson continued.
“Reaching the latter stages of Europe the last two years and had more wins in the league each season and it has culminated in Champions Cup qualification.”
After two matches in South Africa, the Blues will return to host Pau in the Challenge Cup semi-final at the Arms Park on Saturday, 21 April.
The Blues defeated Pau on two occasions in the same competition last season but Wilson expects a much sterner challenge.
“We are going into this game with some confidence,” said Wilson.
“Pau are a very strong side. We won’t play the same Pau team as we did home and away last season as we will on Saturday.
“They are star-studded team with the likes of Conrad Smith and Colin Slade and many more household names.
“It is a challenge we are motivated for and we go in with a bit of confidence.”
Wilson is hoping a capacity crowd in Cardiff next weekend will aid his team.
“The semi-final at home could not be a better way to have a final game at the Arms Park this season and hopefully get in the final,” said Wilson.
“An Arms Park with a derby atmosphere when the ground is full have been my favourite games during my time here.
“I am sure we have that for a European semi-final and I am sure we can make the difference.”