Shane Lewis-Hughes says there are no such things as friendly derbies, as he prepares for his first outing of the campaign during Saturday’s Celtic Cup clash against Dragons A at Summerfest (KO 3.30pm).
Wales’ Capital Region have named a side bolstered with Guinness PRO14 experience, combining an exciting mix of youth and senior players.
The clash will be the climax of an action-packed day at the Cardiff Arms Park, and the Cardiff Blues back row is hoping for a lively atmosphere in the Welsh capital.
“It’s always a good game when you play any local derby against a team like the Dragons,” said the academy product.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a ‘friendly’ game if I’m honest with you, and I’m looking forward to it, and I know the other boys are up for it as well, so it should be a good game.
“Hopefully we can get a good turn out for it, with a lot of people coming for Summerfest.
“With the international game being shown as well, hopefully it will be a good occasion and will be a good day for rugby.”
With the Rugby World Cup in Japan on the horizon, it’s been a prolonged pre-season campaign for John Mulvihill’s side.
Many of the players involved on Saturday will have their first taste of competitive rugby since last season.
Lewis-Hughes lines up alongside James Botham and captain Alun Lawrence, with 14 of the starting line-up being products of the Cardiff Blues academy.
The former Wales under-20 international can’t wait to get started with on-the-pitch action, and looks forward to lining up in the young and exciting back row combination.
“I’m really looking forward to playing because it’s been a really long pre-season and there’s only so-much training that you can go through before you want a hit-out,” added Lewis-Hughes.
“The boys are really excited, the energy has been good this week and we’re looking forward to getting out there and playing against Dragons.
“It’s been tough at times, but I do love coming into training, knowing you’re able to get better.
“It’s never going to be easy, but that’s what you want as a player, because you know you’re challenging yourself.
“You come into this environment to get the best out of yourself and out of the team as a whole.
“Last year was a great year for me, coming through into the team towards the back-end of the season, but now I’m looking forward to getting out there and showing what I can do.
“Strangely enough, I think the three of us have only played one game in the British and Irish Cup together.
“But we’re good friends and know each other’s strengths and how we play, so I’m looking forward to playing in that combination in the back row.
“Alun speaks really well, and is very clear on his approach and messages. He doesn’t say too much and he is a fantastic player as well.”
Gates open ahead of the game at 1pm for the annual Summerfest event, which will include player-led Skill Masterclasses, Inflatable activities, Q&As, stadium tours and a live screening of Ireland v Wales.
The event is included in Season Membership packages and tickets can be purchased by clicking here or calling 029 20 302030