European Challenge Cup final: Cardiff Blues 'should be' in European finals, says Warburton

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Lions captain Sam Warburton backs his Cardiff Blues team-mates to win the Challenge Cup
European Challenge Cup final
Venue: San Mames Stadium, Bilbao Date: Friday, 11 May Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Gloucestershire and the BBC Sport website

Sam Warburton believes Danny Wilson has taken Cardiff Blues to the sort of major final the Welsh team deserve to be in.

Wilson will be in charge of the team for the last time when they face Gloucester in the European Challenge Cup final in Bilbao.

He joins Wasps' backroom staff for 2018-19 with Warburton grateful for Wilson's efforts.

"Cardiff is a big club - we should be in European finals," said Warburton.

Blues qualified for the top-tier Champions Cup next season via the Pro14.

'Where we should be'

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Who will win the European Challenge Cup?

Wilson's Australian successor John Mulvihill will be in charge for that campaign.

Warburton said: "We should be competing in the Champions Cup.

"Bringing some silverware back and some big-time rugby back to the Arms Park is where we should be."

Warburton is "excited" about working with new boss Mulvihill when he returns in 2018-19 after more than a year on the sidelines because of injuries.

But his immediate attention has been taken by the game in Spain on Friday, 11 May.

"It would be a lovely send off [if Blues win] for Danny and Matt Sherratt, who's also leaving.

"They've both contributed so much to the Blues in the last three years and I've enjoyed working with them massively in my career."

'Turbulent time'

The 2013 and 2017 British and Irish Lions flanker and captain also welcomes the stability the Wilson era ushered in at the Arms Park after a troubled period off the field.

"Most of the guys are staying on. Only a couple of guys are moving on from us next year," added Warburton.

"It'll be huge for us moving forward.

"And the club's been through a turbulent time over the last few years.

"We've had five or six head coaches and now we're getting some stability with the playing group that we've got."

Roberts praises Blues defence

Sam Warburton and Jamie Roberts
Between them, Sam Warburton and Jamie Roberts have won 168 caps for Wales

Warburton's fellow Wales international and Lions centre Jamie Roberts says the Blues defence can take much of the credit for their progress.

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has overseen that aspect of Blues' performances in 2017-18.

"The Blues defence has been outstanding this year," former Blues star Roberts told the Scrum V podcast.

"And it's no secret that Shaun Edwards has been doing some work there.

"They come off the line well, their back-row a la Martyn Williams in his heyday are fantastic on the deck and so whether Gloucester can deal with that is one of the most intriguing things for me."

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