John Mulvihill is delighted with his side's preparations ahead of Saturday's first pre-season clash, against 10-times English Premiership champions, Leicester Tigers, at Cardiff Arms Park (KO 2.30pm)
Following five weeks of pre-season training, the Australian will take charge of Wales’ Capital Region for the first time against Matt O’Connor’s side.
The Cardiff Blues head coach is itching to get the new season underway, and hopes his side can carry momentum from May’s Challenge Cup win.
“I was looking forward to getting started five weeks ago! To have a game this week, you can see there is a subtle change in the boys’ preparations,” said Mulvihill.
“We had a very good session today. We’ll have another session on Thursday, Captain’s Run on Friday and then we’ll be ready to go.
“We had a full hit out at the Cardiff Arms Park this afternoon, where we had a referee and had a lot of live moments. It was actually pretty full-on so you had to stand back at let them go at it.
“We’ve still got a little bit to cover off but all the boys are now excited to get their first hit-out of the season.
“We’ll look after each other in preparation but there’s a real change in attitude leading into this game.
“We’ll have a pretty strong side out, a lot of boys that have played for Cardiff Blues before. We have everyone bar Gareth Anscombe and Samu Manoa in the camp at the moment so we’re getting close to where we need to be.
“We’re looking forward to getting started and seeing the local crowd come back. It’s a first opportunity for us to get a game after the boys won out in Bilbao last season, they finished the season really well and hopefully we’ll take some momentum into the new season.”
Mulvihill was speaking to the press during Cardiff Blues’ visit to the National Eisteddfod, which was the Australian’s first experience of the Welsh cultural festival.
The head coach has been excited by the opportunities to meet supporters at events across the region, and is eager to kick off the Guinness PRO14 campaign with a home clash against defending champions, Leinster.
Mulvihill said: “I was walking through the Eisteddfod today and a lot of people stopped me saying they were looking forward to seeing the game on Saturday.
“Leinster [on August 31] will certainly be a tough start to the campaign. But if you want to get them, you want to get them early.
“We’ve probably had a little bit more time together than they have and in games like that you have to put your best foot forward, come out firing on all cylinders and give yourself a best chance of winning.”
Tickets for Saturday's first pre-season clash against Leicester Tigers are still available HERE