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Hammer: Unforgiving start gives us focus

23rd September 2014

Director of Rugby Mark Hammett believes an unforgiving start to the new Guinness PRO12 season will benefit his Cardiff Blues in the long-term.

Blues opened the season with an away win at Zebre but have since locked horns with high flying and undefeated Glasgow Warriors and Ulster Rugby on home soil.

Hammett’s team now kick-off a run of three away league games against champions Leinster at the RDS, in-form Connacht at the Sportsground and table-toppers Ospreys in a Welsh derby at the Liberty Stadium.

The Blues boss acknowledges that his team have been handed a testing start against the sides occupying the top four places in the opening weeks of the new campaign.

However, he believes that stern examination every week is exactly what his new-look squad needs as they look to build for the future and years to come.

He said: “It’s an unforgiving start for us - but it gives us a really good picture of where we are.

“The fixture list doesn’t bother me. If we can start developing and doing what we want against these strong sides it should leave us in better shape through the tournament.

“We know very well that as soon as we turn up and think it’s a game we should win then we are halfway to losing already. We are not a good enough team to turn up and expect to win.

“There is obviously lots of work to do within the business, but we knew that and that is why I was appointed in the role,” he added.

“The attitude is fantastic and the application is good. It was nice to hear Rory Best talk about us being one of the most physical games he had had last week, especially in the first half.

“We know we have got a lot to do to develop our game and systems on and off the field. We know that is going to take time.

“We always prepare to get a result every week, but we know that is not always going to happen. You are up against very good sides and at times you have short turnarounds, these are the variables within it.

“I have inherited a group of players and management and we are all learning about each other. That is part of this journey we are on, but it is an exciting journey and this is just the start.”