Taufa'ao Filise insists he has plenty left in the tank after signing a new one-year contract and he is determined to pass on his wealth of experience to Cardiff Blues' next generation.
While the Tongan tight-head is embarking on his 11th pre-season at Wales’ Capital Region, the likes of Brad Thyer (24), Corey Domachowski (20), Rhys Carre (19) Dillon Lewis (21) and Keiron Assiratti (20) are at the other end of the scale.
A major part of the Blues’ leading appearance maker’s role in the upcoming season will be to help bring through the region’s youngsters, in a similar manner to Matthew Rees at hooker.
And while the 40-year-old remains as fiercely competitive as when he began his professional career back in Auckland, he is also more than happy to impart his knowledge of the dark arts.
He said: “I still feel like we’re the same age. They are full of energy and still young but I try to compete with them and also look after them because they are the future of the region.
“They have a lot of potential, both have played for Wales Under-20s and then Dillon played for Wales in the summer. They have good futures – they are good around the field and scrummaging.”
Filise has notched up 241 appearances for Wales’ Captital Region and was part of the EDF Energy Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup winning teams of 2008 and 2009.
He cites the victory over Toulon in Marseilles as a career highlight and is confident Cardiff Blues can continue on the upward curve in his 11th season.
Filise added: “The highlights have to be when we won the European Challenge Cup against Toulon in Marseilles and also Leicester Tigers game at the Millennium Stadium. We lost that game (on a penalty shootout) but it was still a big one.
“We have good players, we’re training hard and now we’re looking forward to getting into the season. We finished seventh last season so hopefully we can do better.
“It’s very different now to even five years ago but the coaches help me by managing my training and looking after my body so I still feel fresh to go.”