Cardiff Blues bowed out of Europe in some style with a 12-try demolition of Rugby Calvisano – but the earlier home defeat at the hands of Harlequins ultimately cost them any chance of adding to their 2010 tournament crown.
Now the Welsh region is left to concentrate on strictly domestic affairs for the rest of the season and Head Coach Danny Wilson believes denying the Italians a try in the 74-6 European Rugby Challenge Cup romp at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park is a sign of better times to come.
“The important scoreboard figure is the six we held them to in the game and no tries against,” said Wilson, Montpellier's win over Harlequins in the South of France the final blow to Blues’ faint hopes of making the knock-out stages.
“That was a goal of ours. Defensively we've had our lapses and we wanted to make sure we didn't concede – although I was surprised to see them kick three points when they did.
“The attacking rugby we played tonight was superb. It was a good mixture of trying to go through and trying to go around. We played both games well and it was effective.
“It was a good performance and a lot of individuals have done themselves the world of good.”
Tom James grabbed a hat-trick while Cory Allen (2), Josh Navidi, Dan Fish, Ethan Lewis, Alex Cuthbert, Aled Summerhill, Rhys Patchell and Macauley Cook in a 12-try super show.
Reflecting on the European campaign, Wilson admitted the home performance against Harlequins had cost his team but the result had ultimately been of benefit in the long-term.
“The game that has cost us is the Harlequins home game – it was probably the only game I've felt we haven't performed,” he added.
“We had two good wins against Calvisano, held a six-point lead into the final seconds away in Montpellier, which is no mean feat against the star-studded team they are, and we lost narrowly to Harlequins away.
“What has cost us is the home performance against Quins; coming away with nothing from the game.
“In many ways, though, that was a catalyst for us, to make changes to the way we did a few things and highlight some of the areas we needed to be hard on as a group of players and staff.
“Without those games you don't know the changes you need to make are the right ones. It has helped us build and get better and better.”