Lloyd Williams believes this season's Challenge Cup victory can provide a perfect platform for Cardiff Blues, as they prepare for a return to Champions Cup action next season.
The match signalled an end to Danny Wilson and Matt Sherratt’s three-year stint at the region, with moves to Wasps and Ospreys on the horizon, respectively.
Having faced the likes of Toulouse, Pau and Sale Sharks during the campaign, the Welsh international is confident his side can challenge similar high-calibre sides at Europe’s top table next season.
“It was a great send-off for people like Danny and Matt Sherratt. They’ll move on now and everyone here will wish them well. We need to enjoy this moment now look forward to building on this next season, when we’re back in the Champions Cup,” said Williams.
“We’re in a good position to compete and our aim is to do that on both domestic and European fronts.
“The Champions Cup will be a new challenge, but we’ve faced teams throughout this season’s competition, and that can give us confidence next season.
“It’s a great achievement for everyone involved with the club, from supporters, to players, family and friends.”
Despite being a two-times Six Nations winner with Wales, the Challenge Cup win was Williams’ first piece of silverware with his home region.
After a late Blaine Scully try gave his side hope of a remarkable late comeback in Bilbao, the dream turned into reality as Williams’ half-back partner, Gareth Anscombe slotted a touchline penalty to give the Blues a one-point lead.
Williams said: “It was an amazing feeling, but the whole experience feels like a bit of a blur at the moment. Everyone within the squad have been over the moon with the win.
“A lot of things fell into place at the correct time and that resulted in the win. We were chasing the game and had to find a try from somewhere, and all credit to Blaine who came up with a superb finish to put us in position to win the game.
“Even after the missed conversion, we looked at the clock, and with four or five minutes remaining we knew we had time to clinch the win.
"We had momentum and were playing nice rugby and anything can happen in that situation.
“Anscombe put in a nice attacking kick to get the move started and the next thing he was stepping up to the tee, kicking the match winning points.”