Guinness Pro12: Mark Hammett making his mark at Cardiff Blues

Guinness Pro12: New Cardiff Blues director of rugby Mark Hammett is racing against the clock to finalise his preparations

The Pro12 season is fast-approaching and new Cardiff Blues director of rugby Mark Hammett is racing against the clock to finalise his preparations.

Hammett took charge of the region this summer and has set about seeking to improve on last season’s seventh-place finish in the competition.

I’m getting to know most of the players and the names of the staff and there is a real keenness and a real desire to win

Mark Hammett

The Blues kick off their campaign with a trip to face Italian outfit Zebre on Sunday September 7 and the new boss is getting to grips with his new surroundings.

However, Hammett – having now sorted his living arrangements in Cardiff – warned his players not to expect too much change in the Welsh capital as he begins to put his mark on the club.

“Eight or nine days, I’ve been there now so I don’t know if I’m settled but I’m not doing two-hour trips to and from the vale now, which is nice,” he said at the Pro12 launch.

“I’m getting to know most of the players and the names of the staff and there is a real keenness and a real desire to win – ‘we have got the badge on and we are representing that it is done with passion’.

“Hopefully they are not anxious. It is natural when a new guy comes in that there is some anxiety around what we are doing.

“We human are habitual and we don’t handle change really well, so there will be a wee bit of that as well.”

As well as British & Irish Lions Adam Jones, Kiwi fly-half Gareth Anscombe and Wales flanker Josh Turnbull have also arrived at the club.

And that trio – along with the rest of the Cardiff squad – is having to adjust to Hammett’s brand of pre-season training.

He added: “One of the things I wanted to do was train with intensity and try to build some pressure around the way we play.

“I like to get it done under pressure because when we start the PRO12 for sure, then you know it’s going to happen and there is going to be pressure coming back at us so we have got to learn to deal with that.”

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