Aled Summerhill has no shortage of motivation as the 2019-20 season approaches.
The red-hot wing, who bagged 10 tries in 15 appearances last season, returned for the second block of preparations for the new campaign with a renewed focus and determination.
On a personal level there is heightened competition for places, with the impending arrival of Wales internationals Josh Adams and Hallam Amos, while collectively the squad are driven by the disappointment of missing out on the Guinness PRO14 play-offs.
For Summerhill, it would seem he just needs to carry on the form that brought eight tries in the final eight games of the season.
“It’s a new season but hopefully I can keep it going and be consistent,” said the 24-year-old.
“Last year was good, the second-half the season especially was good for me, but I was disappointed in the end that we didn’t make the play-offs and then go further on than that.
“We want to go better than we did last season, we have a good group of players and we can definitely do that. Everyone is disappointed that we didn’t do it last year and everyone is working hard to do it this year.
“During this part of the season we are looking at all the little things we can do that can make a difference. One thing we have found is that at home we can be really good, we get a lot of wins and back ourselves but when we go away, we can sometimes let ourselves down. That is a big focus this year.”
Summerhill is hoping the increased competition for places will not only help take his own game to the next level but improve standards right across the back-three.
Newcomers Adams and Amos, plus Owen Lane, are all currently vying for places in the Wales squad for the Rugby World Cup, while the likes of Matthew Morgan, Dan Fish and Jason Harries remain hard at work at the Arms Park.
He continued: “It’s great that the club have signed those players, they’re obviously internationals and really good players. I like a challenge and I’m glad they’re coming, hopefully they can push all of us to become better players.
“You need that kind of competition and in training you want to impress the coaches, you want to get one up on your opposite number but off the pitch also be friends.”
Pre-season has taken on a different look this summer, with the move back to the Arms Park. The first block of training was predominantly split between the stadium and the Hangar Human Performance Centre, while the pitch at the Sport Wales Centre of Excellence is now also in use.
Summerhill has been hugely impressed with the facilities that have been put in place and equally so in the condition the squad have returned.
He added: ““It’s been great. We have come down and everything is in place, the gym has come all the way down from the Vale and is exactly the same just in a different building, the medical side of things are good, and the room is probably even better than down the Vale and the travelling has been fine.
“It’s a great pitch, it’s well looked after and obviously we can train here (at the Arms Park) or over there.
“The boys came back in good shape. We had a few fitness tests and went into a conditioning block over the first three weeks. We went down the Hangar to do some MMA work and now in the second block we are doing more rugby stuff with conditioning, which has been tough.
“Yesterday (Monday) was our first day back in and it has been tough but going really well. It makes a massive difference and means we can do more rugby and more ball work, rather than concentrating on fitness. It’s been really beneficial that the boys have put the work in during the off-season, not just going on holidays.”
You can join Summerhill and Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park and witness all of the action of the 2019-20 campaign with a Cardiff Blues Season Membership. Just click here or call 029 20 302030 to buy yours today.