Willis Halaholo believes Saturday's derby against Ospreys will be a test of passion and physicality, as Cardiff Blues look to complete a festive clean-sweep over their fellow regions.
The centre played a key role during last week’s bonus point victory over Scarlets in Llanelli, setting up a try for partner, Rey Lee-Lo, while also impressing in defence by completing 17 tackles in a mammoth team effort.
The centre, who tasted victory over the west Wales outfit for the first time, insists the Ospreys will provide a formidable challenge, but is confident his side can display their attacking threats at Liberty Stadium.
Halaholo said: “I think both sides play similar style of rugby but derbies will often come down to which side has the biggest heart and which side turns up physically.
“As you’d expect at this time of year, it doesn’t get any easier this week. Ospreys are looking pretty dangerous at the moment, and are probably playing the best I’ve seen them since arriving in Cardiff.
“They’re playing some good rugby with some big boys up front and some important leaders in there as well.
“They’ve got some boys in the backline that can finish, but as a team we’re really looking forward to it.
“We’re still working on our attacking shape at the moment, but the defence certainly got up for that game against Scarlets.
“Hopefully we can show a little bit more of our attacking intent this week and see how it goes.
“Beating the Scarlets was one of my goals in a Cardiff Blues jersey, as I have already beaten Dragons and Ospreys in the past, but had never won against Scarlets.
“We know how big these derby matches are for everyone, so that was a huge victory for us.
“We concentrated on ourselves and our performance to get the win and now it’s time to move on and focus on this week and the Ospreys.
“It was a great effort by the whole 15, but the boys up front really set the bar, physically, and as backs we could feed off them.
“It showed what we can do against a quality side.”
With Saturday’s encounter set to be Wales’ Capital Region’s first since the turn of the year, and with a crucial few months ahead in the Guinness PRO14, Halaholo has made some personal resolutions both on and off the field.
“I want to get through the rest of the season now, having picked up a couple of injuries earlier this season,” said the former Hurricanes star.
“I’m going to try to get a bit of consistency, going into the back-end of the season, and more importantly all I want is to win with this team.
“We’re looking to grow that culture about us after the changes over the summer and I think it will definitely come.
“If we can get consistency, a string of good games and some wins along the way, I think we’ll continue to grow stronger towards the end of the season.”