Shane Lewis Hughes says the Cardiff Blues squad are relishing the opportunity to ‘show what they’re about’ as the Guinness PRO14 season comes to a close against Ospreys at Rodney Parade on Sunday.
The academy graduate, who penned a new deal with the region earlier this season, was a replacement during last week’s defeat to Scarlets.
Following the disappointment of the performance at Parc y Scarlets, Lewis-Hughes insists his side are determined to prove a point, and on a personal level he is excited for the opportunity to make a mark and continue his development.
“That wasn’t us last weekend, and we know that. We don’t want to sign off this season with that kind of performance,” said the young back row.
“It almost felt like a training game, and that’s the way it looked when we watched it back.
“There were some good things in there, but it definitely wasn’t us. We didn’t see our DNA and we’ve proven that we can be a lot better than that.
“The boys now have an opportunity to go out and play this weekend, and we’re really looking forward to putting our best foot forward and show what the Cardiff Blues are really about.
“It will be different to playing home at the Arms Park, and it will be quite weird because of this situation.
“But which ever ground we’re playing at, that’s not our focus. Our focus is playing the style of rugby that we want to play.
“That’s what we’ve worked on in training this week, ready for the game on Sunday.
“It’s quite a weird one because we have these two games, and then there’s a month off until the season starts again.
“It’s just about doing the most you can in these games, and putting your best foot forward, and that’s what I intend to do.
“All you can do as a player is try to improve yourself every day in training. Everything else will take care of itself.
“If you’re putting your front foot forward, there’s nothing more you can do.”
Lewis-Hughes starts alongside James Botham and captain Josh Navidi in the back row, as John Mulvihill makes 13 changes for the encounter.
The youngster has enjoyed an impressive 18 months for his home region, and was rewarded with a call up to Wayne Pivac’s Wales squad in November.
He was also named man of the match in the away victory over Ospreys at Liberty Stadium back in December, as Wales’ Capital Region secured their first victory in Swansea for over a decade.
However, he is under no illusion about the physical challenge that faces his side in Newport on Sunday and insists they must seek a repeat performance against Toby Booth’s side.
The former Wales under-20 international added: “I think everyone knows that Ospreys will bring a very direct and physical pack, and they’re very proud of their set piece.
“They’re a set piece orientated team and they like to be dominant up front.
“They’ve made some good signings in the backs as well so they also have a good skill-set out wide.
“But we’re looking forward to that challenge and we always look forward to playing against the Ospreys.
“We know that we need to turn up physically and put our best foot forward. The boys are really relishing that challenge.
“But the style they play sort of suits my style of game, that physical side of it. That’s what I enjoy.
“In those big derby games there’s a bit more on it and you find a bit more within you to play at that higher level.
“You know that all eyes are on that game, and those are the games that you want to impress in. I’ll definitely be looking to do the same again on Sunday.
“It was brilliant to win there in December. If you’d seen the boys’ reaction after the game and in the changing rooms afterwards, it was great.
“They’d beaten us there for over 10 years, so to finally get that win there finally shows that the Ospreys don’t dominate us anymore.
“It was good to get the win, but we can’t rest on that now. We have to do the same again.”