I would like to welcome all our fans back to the Arms Park for what promises to be another competitive season of rugby. I'd also like to thank our fans for their patience last Saturday. The delay wasn't ideal preparation for either team, but I thought we saw two very committed teams and some very positive rugby.
We were pleased with most aspects of our play. However, we had a couple of opportunities that we didn't finish off which meant Gloucester were in the game for much longer than we would have liked. I don't think we should get carried away with the result, it was Gloucester's first game of the season and we know how difficult that can be. We won our friendly matches which is a positive, but they won't count for much if we lose our opening fixtures in the Magners League.
A new season always offers fresh challenges and the whole squad and coaching team are determined to build on what we achieved last year. Tonight, we welcome the champions Ospreys to Cardiff in our opening fixture in the Magners League.
It will no doubt be a tough match but having said that we were obviously very pleased to go through all of last season undefeated at the Arms Park in the league.
Looking at the season ahead, I think it's important that we learn from our experiences last season. Our home form was good but we need to improve in our away matches if we are to challenge as strongly in the league as we did last year.
The EDF Energy Cup will bring another type of challenge as we face the current holders Leicester Tigers, as well as previous semi-finalists Sale Sharks and Bath Rugby.
We really enjoyed the tournament last season. I think it was great experience for the players, coaches and the fans playing against our English rivals.
We also have a strong English presence in our Heineken Cup group where we will face Bristol and Harlequins. We also face the aristocrats of French rugby, Stade Francais.
If I'm being honest I think it's fair to say that there are tougher groups and we should be looking forward to playing in Europe's top competition. We're going for everything this season and giving 100% in all competitions.
The squad have trained hard during the summer and it was great that we were able to hold training sessions in front of our fans around the region. The training camp in Limerick was also important. It gave the squad the opportunity to get to know each other better and for the new players to bond with the rest of the squad.
We've recruited well with quality players joining us. I have no doubt that each one will add something to the squad and with the young players graduating through the Academy system it will ensure that we have strong competition for places, something that we may have been lacking in the past.
Judgement Day IV is nearly upon us. The showpiece event, held for the fourth year running at the Principality Stadium, will see Cardiff Blues facing Ospreys, followed by the clash between Scarlets and the Dragons.
For the past two seasons you may have noticed an artist in the crowd and drawings appearing on twitter and TV. These collections of drawings were all produced from life, on the spot without the use of a camera in order to capture the vibrancy, emotion and atmosphere of the moment.
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