Wales star Jamie Roberts has vowed Cardiff Blues will keep "giving the extra yard" in their relentless pursuit of European title glory.
English heavyweights Leicester stand between the Blues and a first Heineken Cup final appearance for Wales’ capital city team since 1996.
In those days they were known simply as Cardiff RFC, a time when players like Mark Ring and Mike Hall strutted their stuff and professional regional rugby was something from another planet.
But 13 years after Toulouse were crowned inaugural European champions at Cardiff’s expense, the French giants crashed to earth, eclipsed by a Blues side whose collective desire hurt the Heineken Cup galacticos where it mattered most - on the Millennium Stadium scoreboard.
Toulouse had won seven of their previous nine Heineken quarter-finals, including a 41-17 romp against the Blues last season.
The three-time tournament winners’ demise, though, means no French semi-finalists and a guaranteed seven English clubs in the competition next term.
It also confirmed the Blues’ status as genuine title material, suggesting Wales might have at last found a team capable of conquering Europe.
Roberts and company will be back at work tomorrow morning ahead of next Saturday’s domestic silverware bid - a Twickenham appointment with Gloucester in the last EDF Energy Cup final.
It is a healthy, if temporary, distraction from European business, yet acute anticipation already surrounds Leicester’s Millennium Stadium visit in three weeks’ time when the Blues could easily attract a 50,000 crowd, after almost 37,000 saw Toulouse toppled.
“Leicester are a very tough team but I think our confidence will grow from this result,” said Roberts.
“We’ve been in games this season and pushed ourselves to the limit.
“We know we can mix it with the best in Europe. Results matter in this game, especially in the Heineken Cup.
“Everyone has been giving the extra yard and this result against Toulouse just shows the hard work that is going in.”
New Zealander Ben Blair booted Toulouse into submission, his penalty hat-trick securing a 9-6 result and a seventh successive Heineken Cup win this season, but it was the Blues’ sinew-stretching defensive efforts that underpinned their victory.
“All the boys were out on their feet, which showed the effort everyone put in,” added midfield colossus Roberts.
“It was a mighty defensive effort, especially during the last 20 minutes. I just kept looking at the clock, every minute it seemed, just waiting for it to end.
“It was like a Test match - extremely physical, very quick and very hard on the body.
“And it was very special. The fans were fantastic and I think they pulled us through that last 20 minutes.”