With preparations for a busy period of Welsh derbies intensifying, Cardiff Blues took time out to spread some festive cheer around Children's Wards across the region.
The entire Cardiff Blues squad were in festive spirits as they visited Noah’s Ark at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant, and Tŷ Hafan in Sully.
The players surprised children, families and staff as part of their annual Christmas visits, which has become one of the highlights of the calendar year for the squad.
Amongst those visiting Tŷ Hafan were Ben Thomas, Josh Navidi and club captain, Ellis Jenkins, and all three were visibly touched by their first visit to the hospice.
Thomas said: “It’s nice for us to have the opportunity to inject some positivity into these children’s lives.
“It’s not a nice situation for any family to find themselves in, so if we can do our little bits to help somehow, then it’s job done.
“You come to Tŷ Hafan, and all the kids are in high spirits, all the families are in high spirits and it’s a really nice environment to be around.
“For the staff to put on this service for the families that are struggling, especially this time of year, is absolutely astonishing.”
Welsh international, Jenkins, added: “Christmas time can be tough for kids, especially if they’re not very well, so our aim is to get out, engage with the community and hopefully bring some Christmas cheer to the children.
“I think I got on the wrong side of some paint! Me, Josh and Ben were having a bit of a play around with some paint with Kayden, and it was great to have a bit of fun with the kids - even if it did get messy at the end!
“It was really good fun.
“It’s a really amazing place. The staff are brilliant. They’re all happy and upbeat and they provide brilliant care for the kids.
“You can see from the way the kids interact with the staff that they love them as well.
“This place provides a bit of a break and a bit of fun and the care they provide is brilliant.
“It’s great to see the kids smiling, and it was great to join in and be able to help out, especially at this time of year.”
Navidi said: "It’s one of my favourite things to do with Cardiff Blues, and we do these visits every year.
"Leading up to Christmas, we do appreciate that some families are stuck in hospitals and hospices over the period, so it’s nice to come down and spread a bit of joy.
"It doesn’t take up a lot of our time to pop down here after training and put some smiles on faces. It’s really rewarding for us as well.
"They’ve been open for 20 years down here and what they do to give the families a bit of a break is outstanding.
"It’s nice that the continued support is still there."