Hallam Amos is confident Cardiff can hit the ground running this campaign after a productive pre-season programme.
Having featured for Wales over the summer, the full back returns to the number 15 on Friday as the Blue and Blacks bring their pre-season preparations to a close against Bath at the Arms Park.
With two weeks until Cardiff kick off their United Rugby Championship campaign against Connacht, Amos says there is a positive atmosphere in camp as they’re building towards competitive action.
“I’ve only been back for a few weeks, but the boys are looking really sharp. It seems like there’s a great environment here,” said the Cardiff University student.
“There’s always hope and positivity in pre-season, but there seems to be a good bit of substance this year as well.
“It’s been great so far. The coaching staff have come in and made a couple of little tweaks and it’s all been positive.
“The boys have been running a lot, and have been put through the wringer over the last couple of weeks.
“But as we saw in the performance last weekend, the boys put some really good stuff together. Hopefully, with a bit more experience this week, we can do more of the same.
“It’s less about the result and more about getting combinations together. We’ve got boys like Matthew Screech and Rhys Priestland coming in and it’s great to get these combinations together.
“There’s also a lot of boys back from injury. I thought Garyn was brilliant on the weekend and Ellis always plays well.
“It’s well publicised that he’s been out for a while so it’s great to get them back on the pitch.
“Hopefully on Friday we’ll see another improvement again. Training since we’ve been back has looked good and the boys are improving.
“We’re tweaking each session, and hopefully gelling as a team, and it’s been great.
“Results aren’t everything in pre-season and it’s great to test yourself against the best and Harlequins and Bath are right up there.
“We’re really confident when we get our best 23 out on the pitch and hopefully we’ll compete with anyone this season.”
Director of rugby Dai Young, who initially joined on an interim basis, has penned a long-term deal with the club while backs coach, Matt Sherratt, has returned to the Arms Park following spells with Ospreys and Worcester Warriors.
Amos has welcomed their influence on the squad and revealed they’re looking to play an exciting, attacking brand of rugby for the coming season.
“We know Dai from the back end of last year and he was great, while a lot of the boys have worked with Jockey before,” added the Welsh international.
“I’ve seen him around, as Welsh rugby is a pretty small world so you meet these people over the years.
“I met him a few times and he’s fantastic. Very detailed orientated and speaks fantastically well in our meetings.
“It’s up to us now to transfer all the knowledge they’ve imparted onto the field now.
“We’ve never been the biggest side. The way we’ll beat sides is by moving them around and playing a bit.
“The team we’ve got, especially in terms of the backs and back row, we’ve definitely got the attributes to do that.
“The way the boys have worked over the last couple of weeks of pre-season is hopefully building towards that.
“It’s great on the Arms Park pitch, especially when it’s dry. Hopefully the calibre of the boys across the pitch means we’ll play some good stuff.”