With the return of Guinness PRO14 action edging ever-closer, John Mulvihill’s men are stepping up their preparations before they face fellow Welsh regions, Scarlets and Ospreys, in August.
However, the Cardiff Blues squad are also hard at work off the field, gaining a head start to their post-playing careers - including centre Garyn Smith, who has recently graduated from University of South Wales with an upper second class honours degree in Sport and Exercise Science.
The former Wales under-20 international came through the academy ranks at Wales’ Capital Region and became a key member of the 2018 Challenge Cup-winning squad.
However, Smith refused to rest on his laurels and decided to study and gain qualifications to prepare him for life after rugby, completing his degree at USW’s Sport Park in Treforest.
The 25-year-old was delighted to have support from both Cardiff Blues and University of South Wales throughout his studies and says the campus in Treforest played a key role as he juggled his busy schedule.
“I was studying down in Cardiff but the distance and the timetable didn’t really work for me, particularly fitting in all the playing and training with the Blues and the other time on the degree course,” said Smith.
“So I decided It was better to transfer to the USW Sport Park (in Treforest), particularly as I live so close in Church Village.
“There’s great assistance from everyone at both USW and Cardiff Blues. USW staff are always on hand to help to provide any advice and help if you need it.
“The Blues also give great support. A few other players from the club are also studying at USW, which obviously helps, and they’ve been very helpful with my dissertation, ‘A study to determine whether a Correlation exists between General Fitness and Game Specific Fitness?.”
While doing the research for his dissertation, Smith was able to tap into the knowledge of Cardiff Blues’ Head of Strength and Conditioning, Robin Sowden-Taylor.
The centre, who has made 92 senior appearances for his home region since his debut in 2014, knows the importance of being suitably prepared for all scenarios and believes the degree has opened up a number of doors for his future career.
“You never know what’s going to happen next, it could be an injury, the end of your contract, it’s hard to predict,” he added.
“But getting my degree means I have a lot more options and the opportunity to go in a different direction if that’s what happens.
“It’s been great studying and giving myself that chance to look at alternative pathways.”