Coach Paul John has spoken about the excitement in the Cardiff Blues squad ahead of the arrival of new Director of Rugby Mark Hammett - with the man known as 'Hammer' in world rugby set to jet in this week.
Blues continue pre-season preparations at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park with a home clash against Exeter Chiefs this Friday night (kick-off 7.30pm).
And one very interested spectator on the night is set to be Hammett with the former Hurricanes coach flying into the UK to start his new role that day.
Attack Coach John revealed: “Mark is expected to arrive ahead of kick-off. He is due to arrive and it is brilliant that he will be here to see the first game.
“Pre-season has gone well and Mark not being here has not made it difficult. Everybody is working very hard and I’m sure they can’t wait to play now because pre-season has gone on a long time for some players.
“We are pleased by the application of everyone and we all know Mark is now coming in.
“Paul Downes, our fitness coach, knows Mark well from Hurricanes and has been here a while now to integrate plans and the structure of days. We are all looking forward to him arriving so we can crack on with the rugby.
“I met Mark before, during the break in the Super Rugby season, and he organised us then,” added John. “Dale (McIntosh) has been in contact quite a bit in pre-season in regards to the forwards so we know what he wants.
“Mark has implemented the things he wanted and he will get a good feel of things when he arrives.
“Mark is experienced at the highest standard in Super Rugby and is an All Black. They are straight talkers and uncompromising in what they want; I don’t think that is a bad thing.
“It’s a different voice and a change. A change is good and we all want this place to succeed. Mark is no different and we all look forward to him arriving later this week.”
It’s Hammer Time! Join new boss Mark Hammett and watch Blues tackle Exeter Chiefs this Friday night at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park. For tickets call 02920 302030.