A distraught Josh Turnbull has vowed Cardiff Blues will bounce back next season and has called on the region to claim the European Challenge Cup trophy for a third time.
Wales’ Capital Region crashed to a controversial 26-23 defeat to the Ospreys on Judgement Day, virtually ending their hopes of qualifying for the Heineken Champions Cup.
A slim hope of reaching the top tier of Europe remains but it is entirely out of Cardiff Blues’ hands and they will more than likely compete in the Challenge Cup.
Turnbull was left gutted following the defeat to the Ospreys but has fond memories of the Challenge Cup, which the Blues won last season.
He said: “We’re twice winners of it so we will come together as a group and back ourselves to win it a third time.
“It’s not an easy competition to win because if you look at this year there’s teams like Clermont and La Rochelle, Harlequins. That’s what you want competitions to be competitive and we’ll give it a good crack next year.”
The Blues were neck and neck with the Ospreys in the entertaining encounter at the Principality Stadium but saw one try ruled out by the TMO and a potential penalty try denied.
Gareth Anscombe also missed a late penalty to put his side in front of his future employers, but his commitment could not be questioned with an 18-point haul in his final appearance for the region.
Turnbull was disappointed with the refusal to award a penalty try, especially in the wake of incorrect calls costing the Blues in the previous round.
He said: “It’s pretty tough to take. We were in the game right up until the end.
“It feels like we’ve had two opportunities in the last couple of weeks taken away from us. It’s really tough to take and I’m not blaming referees or TMOs but decisions are out of our hands and they have been clear cut in my opinion.
“Obviously in the Connacht game there was Jason’s try, the try that they scored which was a knock on and today when you see Dan Evans knock that ball on… for me that’s a penalty try because nobody is going to catch Tomos from 20 yards.
“Nigel (Owens) had a decent game but when it comes to calls like that, which come down to winning or losing the game it is pretty tough to take.
“It was a pretty decent game in fairness. Both teams threw the ball around, the Ospreys kicked a lot as well and there were calls either side of the ball about blocking – they had one, we had one- at least the ref was fair on that.”