Cardiff Blues have returned to training as they gear-up for the 2017-18 season.
Pre-season began in earnest on Monday at the Vale as the majority of the squad reported back from their summer break.
They will be joined by a further raft of internationals next Monday as training intensifies ahead of pre-season friendlies against London Scottish and Exeter Chiefs.
It was a later return to training than in previous years, with head coach Danny Wilson introducing a new format, which saw the non-international contingent undertaking a two-week conditioning block at the end of the 2016-17 campaign.
But former Blues flanker Robin Sowden-Taylor, who heads up the strength and conditioning department, has been pleased with the first two days.
He said: “We’ve done things a little differently this year - at the end of last season the boys who were not touring had a week off and then had a two week block with Ryan (Whitley) and myself.
Watch all the action from day one here!
“We did that to ensure the majority of players all had similar time off and came back in at the same time unlike in the past where the boys have returned in dribs and drbs.
“That will help in terms of team building, creating that team environment and getting more work done on the field as a squad.”
As ever at this team of year, there is an emphasis on strength and conditioning but the programme also includes numerous rugby sessions, to equip the Blues with the necessary skill-sets under pressure to implement their high-tempo game effectively.
Sowden-Taylor added: “We started on Monday where the forwards began with a big lower weights gym session, which led into a strongman circuit, while the backs focussed on sprint mechanics and then did lower body weights.
“Following lunch both forwards and backs did skills with Danny, Matt Sherratt and Richard Hodges.
“Tuesday was our first big red session (the highest intensity) of the week with a real emphasis on conditioning and skills.
“The boys took part in conditioned games, which were designed to test their ball skills and decision making under fatigue.
“That was interspersed with the high-tempo running for the backs and MAS (Maximum Aerobic Running) for the forwards to make sure we have the high-speed running needed going into the season.
“Then in the afternoon they did upper body weights for the first time in pre-season and that led to a bit of contact, grappling and wrestling with Richard Hodges
“They certainly felt they worked hard but it’s good to see they have come back in good condition and it’s certainly set the tone for the rest of pre-season.”
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Danny Wilson’s men take on Aviva Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday, August 25 (7.15pm) with both match-day tickets and Season Memberships available here.