Guinness PRO12: Danny Wilson named as Cardiff Blues head coach

Former Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons and Wales U20 coach to take charge of the Welsh region after securing release from Bristol

Cardiff Blues have confirmed former Wales U20 head coach Danny Wilson will take charge of the Welsh region on a three-year deal.

The highly-rated coach will link up with the Blues in time for pre-season from Greene King IPA Championship runners-up Bristol after agreeing an early release from his deal with the English club.

I am both proud and excited to be named Head Coach at Cardiff Blues

Danny Wilson

Wilson, 38, was seen as the Blues’ primary target to rebuild the ailing club following the surprise resignation of former director of rugby Mark Hammett just six months into a three-year deal in February this year.

Rather than seek a new director of rugby, the Blues have reworked their management structure, allowing Wilson – as head coach – to choose his backroom staff, be more hands on with the rugby side of the business, and given time to turn the region around after they finished a disappointing 10th in the Guinness PRO12, winning just six of their 22 league matches despite a squad boasting a number of British and Irish Lions, Wales internationals, and other experienced campaigners.

“I am both proud and excited to be named Head Coach at Cardiff Blues,” Wilson said.

“I’d like to firstly thank Andy Robinson and Bristol Rugby for their understanding and support with allowing me to take up this opportunity. I wish them every success in the forthcoming season and the future.

“I’m now looking forward to getting started at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, a place steeped in history and tradition, and building an environment, culture and squad that will take us forward in the long-term.

“Cardiff Blues has always enjoyed fantastic support from its dedicated fans and I would encourage them to now get right behind us and be part of the journey over the coming years.”

Born in Weston-Super-Mare, Wilson is no stranger to the PRO12 from his spells as forwards coach at Newport Gwent Dragons and the Scarlets before moving back to England, while he is also familiar with the set-up at the Arms Park from his time there as a Cardiff RFC coach.

Danny has an outstanding track record in coaching, a fantastic reputation across the game and has all the qualities and ambition needed to drive our region forward in the long-term.

Richard Holland

His experience of working with talented, young Welsh players is also seen as a major string in his bow, as is his record from his time in charge of the U20 side.

Credited with turning the Scarlets into a dominant force up front – as well as developing a number of young, talented Welsh forwards – Wilson helped Bristol reach consecutive Championship finals in 2014 and 2015, where they failed to win promotion to the Aviva Premiership following aggregate defeats to London Welsh and Worcester Warriors, respectively.

Blues chief executive Richard Holland believes that the Blues now have a coach who understands the culture at the Arms Park and has the qualities to take the region forward.

“We are thrilled that Danny has agreed to join us as head coach and lead Cardiff Blues over the next three years,” Holland said.

“Danny has an outstanding track record in coaching, a fantastic reputation across the game and has all the qualities and ambition needed to drive our region forward in the long-term.

“He understands the culture of Welsh rugby and has significant experience, in both the international and regional game. We’re excited to see the legacy Danny builds here at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.

“Danny will have complete authority on the rugby side of the business and will be given the time to rebuild and get Cardiff Blues back to where we feel is our rightful place in European rugby.

“He will now surround himself with his coaching team to take us forward over the next three years and he will therefore confirm our backroom staff in the coming weeks.”

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