Captain Richard Smith hailed the spirit in the Cardiff Blues squad as they battled to the last four of the Premiership 7s Series Finals at a wet and soggy Twickenham Stoop on Friday night.
Cardiff Blues had impressed in the Welsh leg of the tournament at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park two weeks earlier and again dug deep to progress in London.
A brilliant late, late show overcame Leicester Tigers in the quarter-finals before a two-try burst from Dan Fish lit up the semi-final with eventual winners Gloucester before Blues bowed out.
However, Smith was still full of pride for his young team and insisted the future was bright for Blues this season and beyond.
"The boys have done themselves proud," said former Wales Sevens international Smith. "With little preparation we have had, we have got better with every game in this competition.
"To be fair to Gloucester, they are a really good side and good in this tournament. They capitalised on the opportunities we gave them so credit to them.
"The weather was difficult, it becomes a bit of a lottery and it just shows how important possession is. In conditions like that the ball can go anywhere, especially off the restart, and we found that out with their final try.
"There is a great spirit about the Blues this season. Competitions like this show how important the whole squad is," he added.
"The hard work we put in pre-season is paying off and we want to be fitter than other teams."
Blues complete pre-season preparations with a home clash with Exeter Chiefs at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Friday evening (kick-off 7.30pm) before returning to London for the World Clubs 7s at Twickenham on Saturday and Sunday.
And Smith admitted competition for places over the whole weekend would be fierce adding: "It's coming to crunch time. People want to put their hands up for selection and there is a lot of competition in the squad which can only be a good thing. If people get opportunities it is important they start taking them."
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