Cardiff Rugby are not in the United Rugby Championship to make the numbers, says back row Will Boyde, who insists the Blue and Blacks are determined to prove a point this season.
The 26 year old returns to action after 10 months on the sidelines for Friday’s pre-season clash against Bath Rugby.
The former Wales under-20 international believes the Anglo-Welsh double header has been the perfect preparation for the new campaign, as Cardiff aim to make their hard work on the training ground pay off when the season kicks off in a fortnight.
“We’re not looking to just take part in the new league. Dai is very ambitious, and he’s made it clear where we want to be towards the end of the first season under his leadership.
“It’s just right to have two tough tests against two quality English Premiership sides.
“If we’re going to fly into the season, we need those tough opposition to get us there.
“Hopefully this weekend we’ll have another tough test, as I’d imagine we will, and we can perform well to kick on into the season.
“We’ve been under-performing and it’s time for us as players to step up under the new leadership and show that we are a quality side.
“We need to kick on as a club and make supporters prouder of the performances that we’re delivering on the weekend instead of not getting the right results.
“We’ve been working a lot on getting the boys fitter during pre-season and it’s been a really enjoyable one.
“It’s been tough as they’ve demanded the boys to be fitter as well as being more effective in the carrying and attacking side of it.
“I thought that showed really well inside the 22 up in Harlequins.
“It’s our blueprint that we want to be fitter, stronger, more aggressive, especially in the pack.
“The backs have a flair that’s naturally there with that personnel. But it’s something the pack really have had to work on, to be able to finish teams off in the 22, instead of getting tired.
“Pre-season I’ve really enjoyed and Dai has obviously got his mark on the squad.
“On the first day he announced that last season was looking at what we’ve got here to build on.
“But now he’s put his impression on the squad from day one of pre-season, he’s told us what he expects and what we need to deliver to remain in the 23 going forward throughout the season.”
Boyde watched last week’s defeat to Harlequins from home, as the English champions edged an 11-try thriller.
However, he was encouraged by large aspects of the performance, particularly considering it was the first outing of the summer.
The flanker added: “In the first half against Harlequins the training we’ve been doing was related onto the pitch.
“In the second half then we’ve analysed the issues we needed to correct.
“The first half was really promising in terms of the new policies coming in and we were able to have a real show out there for the first 40 minutes.
“But when subs are being made, different roles are changing so it’s about getting that clear. Those replacements will be able to filter in seamlessly in the future.”