James Ratti says Cardiff will need to be on top of their game, physically, in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship clash against Ospreys.
After a try scoring display against Bath in pre-season, the 23-year-old started alongside captain Josh Turnbull and Ellis Jenkins in the back row as Cardiff kicked off the URC campaign with a bonus point win over Connacht.
After a spirited performance against the Irish outfit, Ratti believes his side can concentrate on their own game as they aim to overcome the Ospreys in Swansea.
The former Wales under 20 international said: “It’s always tough up front in Welsh derbies. I’ll steal one of Hodgey’s favourites - ‘Physicality wins derbies,’
"This weekend coming, we can’t go into it thinking that Ospreys are going to give us a big test. We need the mind-set of where we’ll give them as tough a time as we can.
"We’re not going to let them get on top of us and it’s up to us, as a pack at least, not to just match them but be on top of them.
"It’s been good to get a proper pre-season in and there’s been no real problems with Covid getting in the way.
"It’s been to get back into normal rugby. Friday was exactly what we wanted.
"Considering the pressure we were put under, with Jarrod and Priestland unfortunately going off early, we overcame that well.
"We have experienced boys to step in and Lloyd really took charge. The boys did a really good job and we rallied to get a deserved win."
Having broken onto the senior stage as a lock, last season’s Rainbow Cup campaign saw Ratti being tried at number eight, where he played in his younger age grade days.
He’s enjoying his return to the back row but insists the hard work starts now as he looks to take his game to the next level.
Ratti added: “Playing at number eight has been slightly different for me. When I came into senior rugby, I thought my best path for me was coming through the row.
“But getting the chance to switch back to the back row is something I was really excited about and it’s something I’ve really enjoyed.
“The more I can do it, the more I know I need to perform to play at this club, considering the strength of back row we’ve got.
“As an eight, half my job is getting the ball and going forward. It’s not a move I necessarily expected, but I was definitely excited about it.
“I believe I’ve got the skills to be both a ball carrier and a ball player, which you need with the way we want to play.
“I made the switch to Cardiff because I thought it was the best opportunity for me to continue in senior rugby.
“But once you’re here, you need to apply yourself to the max. You can’t afford to leave any ‘what ifs’ out there.
“It’s still something I’m working on all the time and by now means am I the finished article at eight. I’ve got lots and lots of learnings to do.
“I’m taking each match as it comes, work on it, analysing my performance and keep building.”