Nick Williams is raring to go as the new season approaches and insists Cardiff Blues can hit the ground running in the Guinness PRO14.
The talismanic number eight is in South Africa and set to face Isuzu Southern Kings on Saturday as the Guinness PRO14 gets underway.
Wales’ Capital Region have spent the week in Cape Town, putting the final touches on their preparations at the Western Province and DHL Stormers High Performance Centre.
Williams has been pleased with the preparations and he is now counting down the minutes until kick-off in Port Elizabeth. He expects a formidable challenge from the Kings, who have geared up with warm-ups against Georgia but he is confident the Blues are ready for the challenge.
He said: “Since we have been here the weather has been quite bad in the UK so it’s good to get away after such a long pre-season and hopefully, we can hit the ground running on Saturday.
“We are ready for it. It has been a long old pre-season and the boys are itching to get out there and release it all. We’ve had a good pre-season in the UK and it’s good to come here to South Africa is great.
“This league is a long way from where it used to be, where teams might be weaker, Southern Kings have turned a few heads and we certainly won’t be taking them lightly.
“They played a couple of games against Georgia and Namibia so they will be well prepared physically and raring to go. We know it’s going to be a tough ask but it’s one I know we’re ready for.”
Williams was out of contract at the end of last season but following successful discussions with the Professional Rugby Board, he was granted another year.
The 35-year-old is grateful to be lacing up his boots for a 16thseason in the professional game and he has pinpointed the potential in the Cardiff Blues squad as one of his biggest motivations.
“I physically feel good and I’ve spoken to the people that I needed to chat to the most and they were happy for me to keep going.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to play again and won’t take anything for granted. You might have to ring my wife! (regarding another year)
“But look as long as the body is happy to go, you can never say no. As long as the heart wants to keep going, I’ll hopefully be pulling on a Cardiff Blues jersey.
“I wouldn’t have fought so hard to keep playing if I didn’t think it was worth it. We have a good bunch of boys and now we have Jarrod and Laney back from Wales we can give this first month a good crack while the internationals are away.”